A Utah conservation officer went the extra mile to release a trapped and rather unhappy mountain lion without the help of tranquilizer darts.
Caught by a licensed trapper in a trap meant for coyotes or bobcats, the large cougar was hemmed up by the paw until Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officer Mark Ekins responded to the call with a couple of catch poles.
The six-minute video filmed by Ekins shows the game warden and the trapper move in on the growling animal, secure the big cat’s head just inches from their faces with a catch pole and a blanket, and release his paw from the trap after a couple of tense attempts.
After retreating a few feet away and taking a time out, the cougar bounds off into the brush.
Under Utah law, trappers can either release unwanted or unlicensed animals themselves or call in DWR for assistance.
“It could be a potential dangerous situation,” Ekins told KSL. “Anytime they feel uncomfortable at all, we’d definitely rather them call us and allow us to help them rather than take a chance of injuring an animal.”