Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers rescued a mountain lion from a Walsenburg home this week after the residents put it in a cage and fed it bratwurst, CPW said Thursday.
Spokesman Bill Vogrin said CPW found out about the kitten on Monday, when the people who took it into their home posted photos on social media of the kitten in a cage. On Tuesday, wildlife manager Travis Sauder retrieved the kitten and sent it to the nonprofit Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation in Wetmore.
CPW said the kitten was sick from eating the bratwurst, but appeared to be in good health otherwise. They said the kitten appears to be less than six months old, and probably was not yet weaned from its mother’s milk.
The people who had the kitten told officers they found it in a snowbank after a snowplow passed by. They also claimed they had released it back into the wild after allowing it to “thaw out,” but Sauder found it still at their home Tuesday.
“Wild animals do not need to ‘thaw out’ because they are equipped by nature to survive cold and snow,” Sauder said.
Sauder said the kitten had been kept by humans for too long to return it to the wild.
“It had been almost 30 hours since it was picked up Monday and its mom would not be in the area any longer,” he said in a statement. “This is why it’s vital to leave baby wildlife where you find them and call us immediately.”
CPW is reminding the public that it’s both dangerous and illegal to possess wild animals.
“If you find wildlife you believe to be orphaned, leave the area immediately and call CPW,” Sauder said in the statement.
Sauder said many animals leave their babies behind when startled, but return to retrieve them later.
“By leaving the area, mom will feel safe to come back and retrieve her young,” he said.