By Andrea Nakano

PINOLE (KPIX) — The past two weeks have seen three mountain lion sightings in the Bay Area, two in the North Bay and the latest  Thursday in the East Bay when a woman encountered a big cat on a trail at Pinole Shores Park.

Pinole resident Jewel Smally said it was one scary and memorable moment during her lunchtime walk at the park. She was asked what convinced her that she saw a mountain lion and replied, “His face for sure because I could see it was a cat face … I had to walk this way to get out so I took a quick picture and hustled out.”

Her snapshot showed an animal lurking in the bushes along the trail.

The sighting comes on the heels of another mountain lion being spotted in Santa Rosa. “It was only a hundred yards away from a key habitat feature mountain lions would use and that would be a creek,” said Dr. Quinton Martins with True Wild.

Martins says the big cat was less than a year old. Efforts were made to shoo the mountain lion away but, when it didn’t move, it was tranquilized and brought to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue for a medical evaluation.

All signs indicated a healthy feline.

“His condition was really good and I kind of doubt he would be doing that well on his own at this age so I think he’s being helped out by his mom,” Martins added.

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Ken Paglia offered good news about the mountain lion.

“We decided to release the lion to give it its best chance to reunite with its mother,” Paglia said.

A tracking collar was placed on the animal and the GPS information already shows he is back up in the hills. His movements will be monitored in hopes of finding out if he does reunite with his mother.