VACAVILLE (CBS SF) — A mountain lion was spotted in its native habitat along the hillsides surrounding Vacaville, but because of the popularity of trails in the area and public concern, the city is issuing a warning to be cautious.
The giant cat was spotted near Lagoon Valley, and again near Cherry Glen Road. There are temporary signs now mounted at trailheads with warnings to hikers.
Despite concerns, the Department of Fish and Game reports that it “…does not consider mountain lion sightings near human habitation a public safety concern as long as the lion is not exhibiting aggressive behavior towards people.”
The animals follow their prey, deer, and that often means they travel into greenbelts and parks.
Fish and Game writes, “Mountain lions are considered beneficial in these settings as they maintain healthy deer herds by keeping their populations in check.”
The Mountain Lion Foundation offers the following advice if you d spot a mountain lion:
• Make yourself appear as large as possible – Make yourself appear larger by picking up your children, leashing pets in, and standing close to other adults. Open your jacket. Raise your arms. Wave your raised arms slowly.
• Make noise – Yell, shout, bang your walking stick against a tree. Make any loud sound that cannot be confused by the lion as the sound of prey. Speak slowly, firmly and loudly to disrupt and discourage predatory behavior.
• Act like a predator yourself – Maintain eye contact. Never run past or from a mountain lion. Never bend over or crouch down. Aggressively wave your raised arms, throw stones or branches, all without turning away.
• Slowly create distance – Assess the situation. Consider whether you may be between the lion and its kittens, or between the lion and its prey or cache. Back slowly to a spot that gives the mountain lion a path to get away, never turning away from the animal. Give a mountain lion the time and ability to move away.
• Protect yourself – If attacked, fight back. Protect your neck and throat. People have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away cougars.