Mountain Lions Cannot Have a Little Human Flesh as a Treat

Illustration for article titled Mountain Lions Cannot Have a Little Human Flesh as a Treat
Image: AP

Conventional wisdom says that mountain lions should have a healthy diet of deer, raccoons, coyote, and elk. But every once in a while, shouldn’t it be okay to let mountain lions have a little human, as a treat?


According to the Arizona Fish and Game Department, the answer is no. Three mountain lions who ate some human remains they came across in their own backyard have been put to death for snacking. Apparently, they are not supposed to do that:

“Mountain lions are not routinely scavengers. A mountain lion eating human remains is abnormal behavior. Those that do are more likely to attack a human being in the future,” Regional Supervisor for the department Raul Vega told a local news outlet.

The mountain lions were unabashedly eating the remains near a hiking trail and “showed no fear of responding officers.”

Though the mountain lions didn’t kill the people they were eating, the remains inside their stomachs are now evidence, and the animals are being preserved for clues as to how the victim did die.

Growing up, my father always told me not to feed wild animals because it would make them more likely to attack, but these mountain lions were just nibbling on a little amuse-bouche they came upon all on their own. It hardly seems fair to kill them for eating it when there weren’t even any signs or memes to let them know human remains were off-limits. Hopefully, this will inspire a public service effort to teach mountain lions about healthy diets and also to warn hikers against dying on canyon trails so as not to tempt hungry mountain lions into unhealthy decisions.


IIRC, the big concern is that if they get a “taste” for human flesh, they’ll be much more likely to see isolated humans as prey in the future and attack them. Right now mountain lions generally won’t see people as potential prey, which is why they tell you to stand up tall and wave your arms around if you come across one.

On a side-note, this brings me back to the Zombie Apocalypse story we’ve never gotten: the one where all the walking dead cause a gigantic boom in the predator population due to all that easily hunted meat walking around, and then the human survivors have to deal with a shit-ton of famished predators once the zombie food supply runs out.