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Mountain Lion Sightings Prompt Hiker Safety Tips

Noozhawk 26 September 2008

William M. Macfadyen

Los Padres National Forest fields reports of several encounters on Romero and San Ysidro trails.

Recent sightings of mountain lions on the Romero and San Ysidro trails in the Santa Barbara County front country have prompted Los Padres National Forest to issue safety reminders and tips for hikers in the area.

“Los Padres National Forest is mountain lion habitat,” forest service spokeswoman Kathy Good said in a news release Friday.

While mountain lions generally are solitary, elusive and shun human contact, Good said a hiker recently reported that a puma “seemed very intent on watching the hiker, holding its ground until driven away by a thrown object.”

Attacks on humans are extremely rare, she said, but the U.S. Forest Service provided safety tips from the California Department of Fish & Game:

» Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.

» Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active — dawn, dusk and at night.

» Keep a close watch on small children.

» Do not approach a mountain lion.

» If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.

» If attacked, fight back.

» If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 9-1-1.

Click here for more information and safety advice on mountain lions.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at wmacfadyen@noozhawk.com .