MISSOULA, Mont. - When Jane Aldrich retired, she bought 20 acres in Florence to raise her animals in peace. On Sunday morning she found her pet llama lying outside her barn, dead.
"I came out and found her and she was disemboweled." Aldrich says, "I didn't check to see if anybody… if he had eaten on her. But she was dragged from there to out there and covered with litter."
Aldrich says she notified Fish, Wildlife and Parks after she and her neighbors assessed the situation best they could to determine that it was a mountain lion attack.
Information and education manager Vivaca Crowser works for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and gives these tips for characterizing a mountain lion attack:
"Look for claw marks, usually the body will be carried, and mountain lions usually return to their kill," Crowser said.
This is not the only case like this in Florence. Aldrich's neighbors have been reporting attacks on their livestock as well.
"The neighbor over there has horses and the guy back there has horses, and this cat has been prone to attack them. My other neighbor's llama was killed not long ago, also," Aldrich says.
Although mountain lions typically stay out of residential areas, homeowners must be cautious as autumn carries on.
"We are seeing a lot of wildlife activity right now," Crowser says. "They are all moving around before winter. Deer are moving, so the mountain lions are moving too."
The incident on Aldrich's land is being reported as a livestock threat, but the mountain lion's proximity to a residential road, and Aldrich's front door makes this a clear threat to people and pets as well.