The Arizona Game and Fish Department says it had to kill three mountain lions that ate human remains in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson.
It started when deputies with the Pima County Sheriff's Department were alerted to the remains on the Pima Canyon Trail. An AZGFD official said it appeared wildlife had "disturbed" the remains.
Then, the U.S. Forest Service closed the area surrounding the trail after mountain lions had been observed "interacting with humans" in the area. The Forest Service reopened the trail Wednesday morning.
Later Wedensday morning, AZGFD confirmed in a news release that mountain lions had eaten the human remains on the trail, but all three involved had been killed.
AZGFD officials say they don't think the mountain lions killed the person involved, but the Pima County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy.
“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,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of AZGFD in a news release. “In addition, they did so 50 yards from a popular hiking trail and within sight of homes, and repeatedly showed no fear of responding officers. They were a clear and present danger to public safety.”
Initially, the U.S. Forest Service said the closure Monday evening could last for weeks while AZGFD officials attempt to trap the mountain lions.
This article was written by Sam Radwany for KGUN .