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Best Known Ways to Avoid Mountain Lion Attacks

Cougars sightings occur in Sierra Madre, so what's the best way to avoid an attack? The Monrovia Police Department provided these tips for living with cougars in the foothills.

Mountain lions are among the creatures commonly sighted in Sierra Madre... TK

From the :

There has been very little research on how to avoid mountain lion attacks.  But mountain lion attacks that have occurred are being analyzed in the hope that some crucial questions can be answered. Following are safety tips and information provided by the California Department of Fish and Game. For further, more detailed, information click on Living With California Mountain Lions.

Do Not Hike Alone:  Go in groups, with adults supervising children.

Keep Children Close To You: Observations of captured wild mountain lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.

Do Not Approach a Lion: Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

Do Not Run From a Lion: Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up, if possible, so they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.

Do Not Crouch Down or Bend Over: A person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal.

Do All You Can To Appear Larger:  Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you are wearing one.

Fight Back If Attacked: Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.

Immediately Report All Encounters or Sightings.

Dan Crandell September 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Way 9 ...carry a big gun. way 10 ... carry the bullets IN your big gun.
R. Ray Morford September 09, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I have no problem with a weapon, but do it legally. Get proper training and obtain a permit. The further people move into the hill side, the more contact we all will have with wildlife. Have proper trash cans because animals are looking for food. We do not want them to become dependent on our garbage. This is just common sense. I've had Mom Bear and her two cubs in my front yard oak tree. Cute, but I just watch them through my front window.
punkster September 09, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Thank you Chief.........we need constant reminding
Chris Ziegler September 09, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Out of curiosity, how many people have been attacked by a bear or mountain lion near Monrovia? Now compare that number to the amount of visitors to the wildlife interface..... this should make the lottery odds look tempting. I've been face to face with a large male lion on a few occasions and he just walks away. In fact, on one occasion, I walked-up on the lion while he was eating one of our livestock and he still ran away. In my conversations with our fish and game biologist, I was left with the impression that most mtn lion attacks were perpetrated by diseased cats that could no longer hunt their preferred pray, deer. On a related note: In a recent Patch story, a hiker was reportedly rescued after she fell down the mountain side while trying to hide from a black bear (hiding infers crouching down behind vegetation thus, making yourself small which is against expert advice). So, by the fact that she wasn't immediately gobbled up by the bear tells me that the bear isn't all that interested in eating people. This advice needs to be weighted against the fact that cardio vascular disease is by far America's greatest threat so we'd do well to make sure we don't let a very unlikely event exacerbate a very large problem by unnecessarily scaring the public – my neighbor no longer takes walks out of fear from potential lion attacks. I suspect that city hall publishes these warnings out of concern of litigation rather than actual concern for safety.
Suzy B. September 09, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Thank you for putting things in perspective.
Bob Dollins September 09, 2012 at 06:57 PM
As far as Monrovia is concerned, other than Gold Hills, there has been little development "into the hills". Most of the houses in areas like Briarcliff, Norumbega, Hidden Valley, Lotone, etc have been there 30, 40 years or more. So, it's been a case of the bears and mountain lions moving into residential areas. That being said, I agree the odds of one actually being attacked by a Mountain Lion or Blackbear are very remote but it does seem like the number of reported sightings over the last 5 to 10 years has increased. Thankfully, no injuries (other than a major adrenaline rush and frayed nerves) has happened but if the number of encounters continue to increase, who can say.
punkster September 09, 2012 at 07:08 PM
California Fish and Game have documented a huge increase in Black Bear populations all through-out California. Since we now seem to have huge increases in the mule deer populations, the increase in resident Mountain Lions in our area, makes sense. I sure appreciate Chris's observations on his Mountain Lion encounters. We need a realistic perspective on their threat potential. I wonder what Chris's views are the Mountain Lion attacks on bikers in Orange County in Wilderness areas? One of the Grants for the Wilderness Preserve we received here in Monrovia was for maintaining Mountain Lion Habitat. Seems like it is working!
Chris Ziegler September 09, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Punkster, Considering that I am in the mountains almost everyday; biking, trail running or just working and I'm alone, I find the news of mountain lion attacks on humans concerning BUT I know that my risks are minimal, as if they weren’t, I’d have been lunch by now. Secondly, the O.C. mountain biker was stopped, crouched down while making a repair to his bicycle and took his helmet off during the process (there is speculation that keeping your helmet on will deter attack as the lion cannot have easy access to the back of your neck where which is their target) Thirdly, I think that lion was underweight and believed to have been afflicted with a disease similar to Leukemia. Lastly, if the worse possible outcome where to take place, I would take solace in the fact that mountain lion attacks usually involve a bite to the back of the neck that breaks the spine, so it's a very quick passing....in my family, the men always die from cancer, a horrible disease, (at 46 I've already outlived my father by 5 years) so with that set of genetic cards, predation isn't such a bad deal.
punkster September 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Thanks Chris.........I have also read that research from India shows that 2 large eye balls on the back of helmets has shown much promise at deterring attacks!
Dan Crandell September 10, 2012 at 01:13 AM
@Morford ... Jocularity my friend ... sorry missed it.
Fleet A. Foot September 11, 2012 at 02:23 AM
What happens if you walk into the woods with a pork chop tied to your head?
Chris Ziegler September 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Fleet: It depends; day or night? Day time; you will attract tons of meat wasps and their sting hurts 10X worse than a bee sting. Night; I don't know, it was day that last time I tried this experiment, I use the pork chop to keep my bald head from getting sunburned (Not really). I do remember reading of a boyscout that slept with and candy bar in his tent and Mr. Bear came and gave him a scare but the scout wasn't seriously harmed, the bear just wanted the candy bar.

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