We’ve been in Crestline since Sunday evening, and I saw the bold headlines through the plastic door of the vending machine as we prepared to enter the cafe tonight. “Look at that, Jerry. There’s been a mountain lion attack here in Crestline.”
And so there has. A few days ago, a massive mountain lion whose size was judged to be 3-and-a-half to four feet long went on the attack right in the downtown area of our village of around 8,000 people. It occurred about 2:00 Tuesday morning on the property of a couple who, about that time, heard their cats begin crying. Thinking it was probably a dog pestering their cats, they went outside to the pen where they were kept, and there was this huge mountain lion inside the pen.
“I was at my computer and I heard this heinous scream,” the woman’s husband said. “I didn’t know if it was a raccoon or my cats. I went outside and saw a huge mountain lion trapped inside the pen. It bucked its head at me. I think it felt threatened. It didn’t seem to like me at all. At that point I ran into the house and called 9-1-1.”
The sheriff was there within minutes, and arrived in time to see the mountain lion while it was still in the pen.
“The sheriff’s spotlight was trained on the pen, and it startled the cat,” the man said. “It bucked the pen. It used its head to move it, and it (the pen) flew in the air. I haven’t seen a mountain lion this big since (I went to) the San Diego Zoo. It’s as big as the ones at the Mirage (in Vegas). When the pen went flying I ran inside the house.”
Later as deputies searched, they again saw the lion heading toward Crest Forest Drive, and at that point contacted the California Department of Fish and Game. They’re reminding residents to guard their children and pets, by supervising children when they are outside, and by keeping pets inside at night.
Additionally, they have extended the following general information and warnings:
“As a reminder,” a sheriffs’ press release states, “if residents see a mountain lion they are not authorized to shoot the animal, but immediately notify the sheriff’s department and the DFG.”
The DFG offers this information and these tips to stay safe: More than half of California is mountain lion habitat. Mountain lions generally exist wherever deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans.
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.
– 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. For tips, request a Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage from DFG offices.
– Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions.
– Don’t leave small children or pets outside unattended.
– Install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.
– Provide sturdy, covered shelters for sheep, goats, and other vulnerable animals.
– Don’t allow pets outside when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night.
– Bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential mountain lion prey.
Staying Safe in Mountain Lion Country
Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people. Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts are increasing as California’s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.
– 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.
Mountain lions that threaten people are immediately killed. Those that prey on pets or livestock can be killed by a property owner after the required depredation permit is secured. Moving problem mountain lions is not an option. It causes deadly conflicts with other mountain lions already there, or the relocated mountain lion returns to the area from which it was removed.
Source: Crestline-Courier News/Photobucket
I love our small town of Crestline here in these San Bernardino Mountains, and have always understood there to be a certain risk from wild animals when one lives in such a place. My grandchildren visit frequently when we’re here, and for years we’ve walked through the woods, pulled wagons with drinks and lunches aboard, picked up sticks, mounded pine cones and played games among the trees. I’ll continue with these activities, I suppose, but this cat sighting has made me quite cautious, and I probably won’t be prowling around by myself, nor will I let any grandchild wander about alone. I’ll keep my eye on Jerry, too. 🙂