A sighting Saturday is the latest in a series of mountain lion encounters in the Sand Canyon area.
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The most recent sighting was off of Live Oak Springs Canyon Road Saturday morning. The resident reported seeing a female mountain lion with her cub in her backyard.
“She was big and definitely could have done some serious damage to any dog or animal that came near,” the resident said in an email to the Sand Canyon Homeowners Association.
Although mountain lions are not known to attack humans, those with cubs may view any residents near them as a threat and fight to defend their young.
Mountain lions tend to be quiet, solitary and elusive and typically avoid people. Although mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, conflicts are increasing as human population expands into mountain lion habitat.
Mountain lions have been suspected in pet attacks in the past. For residents in Sand Canyon and areas of Santa Clarita bordering on natural areas, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers several tips on living in close proximity with wild animals.
- Don’t hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
- Keep children close. Observations of captured wild mountain lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within sight at all times.
- Do not approach a mountain lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a mountain lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. Pick up small children 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. In Nepal, a researcher studying tigers and leopards watched the big cats kill cattle and domestic water buffalo while ignoring humans standing nearby. He surmised that a human standing up is just not the right shape for a cat’s prey. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. Avoid squatting, crouching or bending over in the presence of a mountain lion.
- Try to appear larger. Raise your arms; open your jacket if you are wearing one; pick up small children; throw stones, branches or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back; wave your arm 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.
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