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Mountain Lion Sightings In Sonora

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Sonora, CA – A warning is going out to the public from the Sonora Police Department after cougar sightings in the city limits.

Police report that dispatch recently received several calls related to mountain lions in the area. In fact, one of those they add was just yesterday around 2 p.m. along the Dragoon Gulch Trail, located off Stockton Road.

Police caution the public in a written release, “We share our mountain community with all types of wildlife you shouldn’t be alarmed. However, you should always use caution when you have an encounter.”

Also, the local California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden shared the following information on wildlife safety.

Living in Mountain Lion Country:

  • Acknowledge that you live in mountain lion country and make a commitment to educate yourself. Talk to your neighbors and work together.
  • Never feed deer or other wildlife; it is illegal to feed deer and other big game in California and it will attract mountain lions.
  • Deer-proof landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat. For tips, request A Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage from CDFW 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.

What to do if you Encounter a Mountain Lion:

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people by nature. However, as human population expands into mountain lion habitat, more frequent sightings may occur, and human/mountain lion encounters may increase.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, attacks have occurred in California. Understanding mountain lion behavior and how to act responsibly in mountain lion country may greatly reduce potential conflict with these majestic animals.

The following safety information is a compilation taken from wildlife managers, wildlife officers and scientists that study mountain lion behavior. Although no strategy in the event of an encounter is guaranteed to be successful in every situation, these tips will help keep you safe in lion country.

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone. Stay alert on trails.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active – dawn, dusk, and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Off leash dogs on trails are at increased risk of becoming prey for a mountain lion.
  • Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
  • DO NOT RUN. Stay calm. Running may trigger chase, catch and kill response. Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms, or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. Squatting puts you in a vulnerable position of appearing much like a 4-legged prey animal.
  • Be vocal; however, speak calmly and do not use high pitched tones or high pitch screams.
  • Teach others how to behave during an encounter. Anyone who runs may initiate an attack.
  • If a lion attacks, fight back. Research on mountain lion attacks suggests that many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect head and neck.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.
  • Report unusual mountain lion behavior to your local CDFW regional office.

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