Mountain lion on Highway 82 near Glenwood highlights dangers of autumn driving (video)
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Rural Colorado residents know wildlife on the road is always a possibility.
Around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, a mountain lion crossing southbound Colorado Highway 82 near Glenwood Springs was apparently hit by a car and stumbled awkwardly through rush hour traffic.
Video posted on a popular online Facebook group shows the mountain lion seemingly dazed on the highway.
“I think he was hit…. He seemed super disoriented and out of it,” said Jenna Bontempo when she posted the video to the group.
Matt Yamashita, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said in a statement that his office didn’t receive any calls about that mountain lion.
But Yamashita saw the Facebook post, and went out to check for the big cat later.
“I drove by the area about 90 minutes after it occurred and did not observe anything,” Yamashita said.
“Based on the comments it appears that the lion was supposedly hit by a car crossing Highway 82, which explains the lethargic and carefree behavior. All witnesses reported that it jumped the guardrail and left the Highway shortly after the video ended,” Yamashita said.
Parks and Wildlife reminds drivers to be aware that wildlife often cross roadways.
“There is always the possibility of colliding with a wild animal,” Mike Porras of CPW said.
As the days get shorter, and temperatures cool, the chances of seeing wildlife on the road may increase.
“Wildlife is active especially at dusk and dawn. As we’re getting into part of the year when it gets darker earlier, people are going to be commuting at the times when wildlife start to ramp up their activities,” Porras said.
Also, during the fall season as temperatures cool, animals migrate to lower elevations. The constricting wildlife corridors often intersect busy roads, Porras said.
Porras said Gov. Jared Polis’ recent executive order to study wildlife corridors is a step in the right direction to protecting both drivers and wildlife.
“We want to make sure that drivers are safe, and wildlife is protected,” Porras said.
Driving with the risk of wildlife on the roadways comes down to awareness and knowing how to respond when deer, elk, bears, lions or even moose cross the road, according to Porras.
“You want to be able to slow down without losing control of the vehicle. In many cases, people are injured by trying to avoid the collision than they are by colliding with the animal,” Porras said.