KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mountain lion spotted in Tuzigoot National Monument

Cameras have captured a mountain lion wandering the trails of Tuzigoot National Monument.

The large cats, which mainly eat elk and deer, are rare in Arizona, but have been known to dwell in the Verde Valley, including within the monument’s borders.

The latest sighting occurred in the Tavasci Marsh area.

“This wide-open area, being a marsh, has attracted wildlife for years,” said supervisory park ranger Paul Santellan. “And, because of that, mountain lions — they need water, they need food, so they’ve been a part of this park here for a very long time.”

Santellan said no incidents have occurred and explained that mountain lions generally try to avoid humans. But he added that people should be especially cautious around a mountain lion with cubs.

“They are more protective of their cub, and that’s when they can be more confrontational if they feel they are cornered or don’t have an exit,” he said.

Hikers who encounter mountain lions should not run, but instead make themselves look big and make lots of noise.

Santellan recommends checking the national monument’s social media pages prior to visiting.

Nicholas Gerbis was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.