A Midway resident filmed his unexpected visit from a mountain lion on Tuesday.
Midway resident Giro Messeri has wanted to see a mountain lion ever since he moved to Utah from Italy two and a half years ago. Messeri got that opportunity on Tuesday evening after he had finished grilling some wagyu burgers on his porch. A half hour later Messeri heard his roommate call him down to see the cougar that had made its way to the Swiss Oaks condominiums to investigate the smell.
“I mean it was awesome, I’ve always wanted to see one,” Messeri continued. “So, having one right in front of me just a glass door dividing me, and the animal was really nice. Beautiful animal you know it was hungry, smelled my burgers from a while ago. So, it came up on the porch, she did a big jump actually from under the porch it was like 10 feet high. So, it jumped and then it kind of I think heard us. So, it was scared and was trying to leave. That's what you see in the video that goes pacing back and forth so that's what it was trying to do, but it was awesome.”
He said he called the Division of Wildlife Resources to let them know about the sighting.
“He told me that it's a usual behavior for a cat, especially this time of the year and at dusk,” Messeri explained. “So, the sun was down and so that's the time when they hunt. He said if I do see it again to just let him know. Yeah so, he was like as long as I'm not concerned, he was like don’t be worried. I was more happy to see something that shy and that hard to see than really scared at all.”
Division of Wildlife Resources Public Information Officer Faith Jolley says this time of year the division does receive more reports of cougars in urban areas.
"The deer are migrating into lower elevations looking for food and so the cougars will often follow,” Jolley said. “So, if people do happen to see a cougar in their neighborhood or around their yard we always recommend to stop and not run from the cougar. Sometimes that can trigger some of their natural instincts to chase. Don't ever try and approach a cougar, they are wild animals. We recommend maintain eye contact when you do come in contact with a cougar. Make yourself big, that's kind of one of the big tips that we give. You should make yourself look bigger by raising your arms, waving your arms, talk loudly and just kind of back away slowly. The key is you want to give them that space. If you are making yourself big and loud, they’ll typically run away and leave. However, if they do ever end up attacking you know we always recommend to fight back and we want you to protect your head and neck area. Like I said, usually if you're aggressive enough, you're loud enough, the cougar will leave.”
Jolley recommends removing items that could attract a cougar to your area such as pet food.
“If you have seen or if your neighbors have reported seeing a cougar in your area then definitely bring your pets inside for safety reasons,” Jolley continued. “If there ever is a concern or a sighting in an urban area or neighborhood people are welcome to call one of our local DWR offices.”
Jolley says dawn and dusk are particularly important times to keep pets and children closely supervised or indoors. Messeri posted the video online where some shared concerns about the cat, but Messeri emphasized that he and his housemates never felt threatened.
“You know many people freaked out on the forums and groups,” Messeri explained. “Those are animals we built around where they live, and I live right behind the mountain. I know many people in Park City saw the video, just don't worry like they only come if they're hungry. It looked straight at us was not interested in either me, the dog, or anyone, it was just trying to leave.”