W e lead circumspect lives on the whole or so we endeavor, and we must say, people sure are funny over in Walsenburg – a few of them, anyway.
Perhaps we should back up: We have nothing against bratwurst. If you get a couple of brats, cook them on a grill and put them in fresh rolls with sautéed onions and peppers, we will be pleased to join your repast. Then again, we are not mountain lions or their wild kittens, who have their own diets or should.
Back in November, people at a Walsenburg residence said they found a mountain lion kitten in a snowbank after a plow passed by. So they took it home and put it in a cage, to let it “thaw out.”
It was about two months old, an age when it should have been surviving on its mother’s milk and the food she regurgitated.
The Walsenburg folks fed it bratwurst, for some reason.
Perhaps that was just what they had on hand, because if we were to go to the supermarket and look for something to feed a young mountain lion, why on Earth would we pick that? But there are so many unanswered questions here.
They fed the cat the brats and took its picture in a cage – they had a cage on hand, too – and, inevitably, they posted the pics on social media, without which they might have just called Parks and Wildlife in the first place, which would have been the sensible thing to do.
Instead, Parks and Wildlife had to pay them a call. They claimed they had already released the kitten, but there it was, magically in a cage in their home. And it was sick.
The human desire to possess nature is boundless. We have a knack for telling ourselves we are doing good for a species, an individual, a baby, and before you know it some of us have become like that woman in Montana who kept a whitetail deer as a “pet” in an outdoor enclosure in her yard for six years. She said it was happy there.
Wild animals choose their lives, with all the attendant hardships and triumphs. They do not choose us, probably because we think it is a good thing if we can get outside for half an hour a day. And we eat bratwurst. We have Google, yet none of us really knows what is in bratwurst. It is beef, or veal, or pork, or it could be sausage-shaped tofu.
Also, it is illegal to possess wildlife.
Astonishingly, the Walsenburg mountain lion kit was sick from eating the bratwurst, said Parks and Wildlife.
Otherwise, he was in good health. So Parks and Wildlife took him to the Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation facility in Wetmore, just west of Pueblo, where he spent the winter.
Last Saturday, he was hauled by secure trailer to a likely spot for a lion.
He is big now, a healthy-looking animal with a fine dark-tipped tail. He exited the trailer and went into what workers deemed stealth mode, keeping his face hidden from someone with a video camera.
No doubt he thought about those people in Walsenburg and their cage, some of his earliest memories. He might have remembered the bratwurst, and someone saying, “You’re on Facebook, cat!” He might have remembered thinking, “Someday, I’m... going to eat you.” He had a moment there, behind the trailer, getting his bearings – and then he was off, moving sure-footedly between the trees.
We would like to think he will meet up with other lions at some point and be able to say, “You’re not going to believe what happened to me.” We hope he is done with people.