Bearizona Wildlife Park cited by USDA after mountain lion kills sheep

Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 20, 2016

Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams was cited by the feds after a mountain lion jumped onto the premises, killing a Dall sheep, ABC15 has learned. 

According to an Aug. 23 inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the sheep was found dead "outside of its enclosure" back in May. 

The agency notes that all outdoor housing facilities must be enclosed by a perimeter fence, of sufficient height, to keep animals and unauthorized people out. The lion jumped over an eight-foot fence to get to the sheep. 

Bearizona Operations Manager Jocelyn Monteverde tells ABC15 that this was a "freak" incident.

"This was an isolated freak incident where a mountain lion from outside the park came into the Dall exhibit, breached both perimeter fences and killed the sheep," Monteverde said. "The mountain lion in question also killed several pets from Williams area residents' backyards."

Bearizona must come up with a corrective plan for the perimeter fence by Sunday. However, Monteverde notes that the park is already in compliance. 

"Because of our current compliance, we don't agree with this citation, however we are, and will continue to work with our regional USDA inspector to come to a positive solution," she said.