Lander’s Gannett Peak elementary gets its lion

Large Carnivore Supervisor Dan Thompson spoke to Gannett Peak students about mountain lions. WGFD photo

Gannett Peak Elementary now has a mascot in their lunchroom courtesy of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. In March a taxidermied mountain lion was donated and hung for display there. The elementary school’s mascot is a cougar but they did not have one at the school.

Sometimes when Game and Fish biologists and wardens remove or confiscate animals, they can be preserved and used for education or display. As was the case a little over a year ago when this male lion was acquired. The Lander Game and Fish office applied for a grant to get the animal taxidermied for the elementary school to display.

Leslie Voxland, Gannet Peak’s principal, kept the lion a surprise for teachers and students. Taxidermist Kim Lutz, and others hung the lion after school one weekday, and students were thrilled to discover the majestic carnivore hung up in their lunchroom the next morning. Additionally, Large Carnivore Supervisor Dan Thompson visited the school and talked to the kindergarten through third grade students about mountain lion ecology and safety.

“It is always nice when we can find a use like this for animals that are lethally removed or confiscated. Elementary school kids now have a physical embodiment of their mascot.