Belle Alert – Mountain Lion shot

March 31, 2011

Once again, a mountain lion has wandered into a residential neighborhood in our area. The lion was sighted wandering around a residential Redwood City neighborhood close to Sequoia Hospital on March 29th. A warden with State Department of Fish and Game shot the mountain lion with two rifle shots around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in the backyard of the home. Unfortunately, it was determined that tranquilizing the lion was too risky because it could have become angry and escaped into the community.

When the animal was first sighted at around 8 a.m.near Sequoia Hospital, officials warned families in 600 nearby homes to either evacuate or stay inside while they conducted a house-by-house search. The mountain lion, which weighed between 100 and 150 pounds. It is not clear how it got into that neighborhood which is not near any open space.

The Department of Fish and Game points out that mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night. They generally exist wherever deer are found. They tend to be solitary and elusive. Mountain lions prefer deer but, if allowed, they also eat pets and livestock. In extremely rare cases, even people have fallen prey to mountain lions.

Fish and game advises steps to avoid attracting mountain lions to your property:

• Don’t feed deer; it is illegal in California and it will attract mountain lions.
• Deer-proof your landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat.
• Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions.
• Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
• Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential prey

If you sight one: call 911 right away.

With regard to encounters, Fish and Game advises:

DO NOT HIKE ALONE. Make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. Go in groups, with adults supervising children. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea: you can use it to ward off a lion.

KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE TO YOU. Observations of captured lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.

STOP! Do not run from a lion. Back away from it slowly, but only if you can do so safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up so they won’t panic and run. Although it may seem awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the lion.

DO NOT BEND OR CROUCH OVER; DO ALL YOU CAN TO APPEAR LARGER. A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. Raise your arms. Open your jacket, if you’re wearing one. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can grab without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a large voice.

DO NOT APPROACH A LION, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

FIGHT BACK IF ATTACKED. Try to stay on your feet if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven off by prey that fights back. Some hikers have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands. Since lions usually try to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.

For more information about mountain lions, go here and here.

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