Don't let wild cats get comfy

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A decade or so ago, when my children were toddlers, a neighbor asked me why I let  my children play in our backyard on Walnut Canyon.
She felt they were in grave danger of being attacked by mountain lions.
I had already lived and hiked in Los Alamos for a long time by then so I told her that i believed the benefits of outdoor play were greater than the risk.
A year or two later, there was a story in the news about a jogger in California who was mauled by a mountain lion.
An expert discussing mountain lions said that an adult lion was capable of jumping a 12-foot fence carrying a 40- pound object. This really caught my attention . My children were about 40 pounds each by then and the chain linked fence around my yard wasn’t anywhere near  12 feet tall.
I decided to learn more about the big cats in Los Alamos County. Through the years, I mostly learned how elusive these beautiful animals are. With the past winter being so terribly dry, though, a mother lion with two kittens appeared in our North Mesa Canyon yard.
The kittens seemed desperate to get a drink from our neighbor’s drip irrigation. We scared them away by pounding pots and pans.
They were very easily frightened.
When I saw the photograph of the lion kitten in the Los Alamos Monitor recently, it broke my heart.

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