This afternoon my friend Scarlet Rivera and I took a hike down the canyon that I live in to collect herbs and to follow the small creek to see what potential animals might have been in the area. Scarlet who is famous for her work with Bob Dylan and who is also one of the foremost female violinists in the world, is also a major advocate for big cats. In fact, she is visiting me this weekend so that I can review her new manuscript “The Voices of the Animals”, which is likely to become a major resource in the future, and to participate in the Peace Training that I just facilitated.

About a half hour into our walk along the creek, a mountain lion jumped across the creek right in front of us. What an amazing coincidence and a special moment. Cougars are usually quite difficult to run across!
After giving the big cat time to move on, as we were right in the middle of a dense forest with extremely limited vision and exit routes, we looked around the area and found cat tracks and huge bones from a cow in the creek bed. Then, I noticed a government wildlife video monitor strapped to a tree right where we saw the lion, and a short distance beyond that, Scarlet and I found a have-a-heart style lion trap set at the site.

Obviously there is some kind of problem with the lion and it is being observed. Beyond that, it is clear that there are plans to trap it. I have included a photo of the video monitor and the lion trap we found.
I am confident after seeing the set up, that the plan is to move the big cat somewhere else, not to try to kill it.
Anyway, it was a unique day in the woods. On one hand it felt a little intimidating walking around in high brush and foliage that left us totally unable to see what was around us, while at the same time knowing for sure that there was an active mountain lion hunting in the area, and that we were standing dead center of its kill zone. On the other hand, I feel deeply privileged to get to observe some of our animal partners so close up in the wild!
I feel blessed to have these amazing experiences, and to have friends who like me, see things like lions as extended family rather than as enemies.

What an auspicious day!
Patrick McCollum