Thanksgiving 2021 will be one that Sugar City’s Shawna Nelson and her family won’t soon forget.
As she and her family spent eight hours putting up a tent in their front yard, three mountain lion cubs lay perched on some tree branches just a few feet above the Nelsons’ heads.
The animals made nary a sound.
“I think they were young enough and scared. We had the dogs out. As long as the dogs were there, they were going to stay up in the tree,” Nelson said.
The family didn’t notice the mountain lions until the Nelsons went back into their house and from a window noticed movement in the tree.
“I was waiting for my husband to finish eating lunch, and we saw three cougars,” she said.
Nelson then called Idaho Fish and Game who told Nelson to lock up her dogs. As soon as they did, Nelson heard the cubs start communicating.
“It’s a really fun noise they make. It’s a combination of a hawk and a child’s cry,” she said.
The cubs stayed on the Nelsons’ property for several hours.
“We just sat and watched them. It was around 6 o’clock, and they were gone. They went down to the neighbors,” Nelson said.
The Nelsons looked for the mother on Thanksgiving Day, but never spotted her.
“I’ve heard the mother does push them out to get them going and hunting on their own. I think something happened to her. Somehow they (the baby lions) traveled on together,” she said.
It was the first time the Nelson family had experienced mountain lions in the trees of their property.
“It was pretty fun to see. They are cute. Oh, my gosh, they’re cute,” she said.
After discovering the critters, Nelson took the animals’ pictures. The cubs politely posed, she said.
“They were just sitting there like they’re watching the show,” she said.
Idaho Fish and Game eventually caught up with and captured the mountain lions. The organization euthanized the animals on Friday, reported the Associated Press.
Nelson was saddened that the animals were put down.
“That was frustrating,” she said. “I just wish we could have saved them.”
Nelson’s 12 children didn’t believe her when she told them about her Thanksgiving Day excitement.
“They were like, ‘Yeah, right, mom, really?’ They were a little shocked,” she said.
It was a memorable Thanksgiving, Nelson said.
“It’s one Thanksgiving we will never forget. They (the cougars) were so cute,” she said.
By Lisa Smith at The Standard Journal.