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Big Cats on the Prowl

Mountain Lion Encounters in Front Country Prompt Forest Service Warning


Even if you manage to escape global warming or the economic crisis, there are still mountain lions.

The Forest Service released an advisory this week warning of an increase in mountain lion sightings in Santa Barbara County. According to the press release, several hikers on the San Ysidro and Romero trails, located in the Los Padres National Forest, have reported encounters with the large predators in recent weeks.

While the California Department of Fish & Game insists that “mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people,” increased human presence in the mountain lions’ habitat will inevitably lead to more confrontations. The Forest Service recommends that no one venture the trails alone, keep a close eye on small children, and avoid using the trails at the peak times for mountain lion activity dawn, dusk, and night. In the event of a mountain lion sighting, the Forest Service urges hikers to hold their ground, make as much noise as possible, and wave their arms.

For more information and safety advice regarding mountain lions, please visit the Department of Fish & Game Web site at dfg.ca.gov/news/issues/lion. Or read Martha Sadler’s Independent article on what to do in case of encounters with mountain lions, bears, coyotes, or rattlesnakes.

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