Arizona Officials Warning: Be Aware of This Increased Threat
I often check out our local Chit Chat sites on Facebook. There's always someone asking the question, What the heck is this CRITTER!? It's usually some kind of snake or an extra-large arachnid of some kind. We're used to strange and sometimes dangerous creatures here.
We're not scared of most of what Arizona can dish out, but it's always a good idea to remain cautious, especially when you're spending time outdoors. Right now, it's a good idea to be a little extra vigilant, especially where our kids and pets are concerned.
Arizona Game and Fish officials are warning residents we might be facing an increased threat this year.
Increased Threat to Humans in Arizona
It's a good idea to pay a little more attention when you go outside. Arizona Game and Fish just issued a warning to residents. They say wildlife sightings are on the rise, and there is an increased chance of encounters with mountain lions.
Why the Rise?
Why are mountain lions roaming around more than usual? According to the officials, there are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon. With the ongoing drought conditions, water sources and prey have fallen so they're expanding their territory in the search for food and water.
Wildfires around the state have also contributed to an uptick in big cat activity around Arizona neighborhoods. In May, wildlife officials were forced to lethally remove three mountain lions when they attacked a dog and posed a threat in a Prescott neighborhood.
What Should You Do If You See a Mountain Lion?
Officials advise you not to panic or run away. This could trigger the animal's predatory instincts.
Instead, try to appear larger and more intimidating. Raise your arms, make loud noises and throw rocks and sticks. Back away slowly and maintain eye contact with the mountain lion. If the animal attacks, you should fight back with any weapons or tools you have.
The best way to avoid a possible run-in with big cats and other wildlife is an ounce of prevention. Start by taking precautions to make your property less attractive to wildlife. Secure garbage cans, pet food, and livestock.
Also, avoid feeding or approaching any wild animals so they don't become used to being around humans.
And even if you're in your own yard, stay alert and aware of your surroundings, but be extra vigilant when you hike, bike, or jog in natural areas. Also, avoid going out alone or at dawn and dusk, when mountain lions are most active.