The bears are awake and a mountain lion is on the prowl in the Cabin Cove and Silver City areas of Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. During the Memorial Day holiday weekend a mountain lion was seen in Silver City by at least a half-dozen people.
Witnesses reported that the cat wasn’t showing any fear of humans. The sightings were reported to the National Park Service and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Experts from these agencies concurred that the mountain lion was probably in the area during the spring months when there weren’t many people (the Mineral King Road is closed from October to May). The cat was probably caught off-guard when throngs of humans arrived for the first long weekend of the summer.
Normal behavior would predict that the mountain lion leaves the inhabited areas and disappears into the more remote regions of the Sierra. It was also stated that if this is a mature animal, it is unlikely that it will change its behavior and start hunting pets or humans. A cat, especially a younger male, will still have the chase instinct, which means it’s time to brush up on mountain lion etiquette:
If a mountain lion is encountered, never, ever run away.
Appear as large as possible— Make yourself appear larger by picking up children, leashing pets in, and standing close to other people. Open your jacket. Raise your arms. Wave your raised arms slowly.
Make noise— Yell, shout, bang your walking stick. Make any loud sound that cannot be confused by the lion as the sound of prey. Speak firmly and loudly to disrupt and discourage the lion’s hunting instincts.
Act defiant, not afraid— Maintain eye contact. Never run past or away from a mountain lion. Don’t bend over or crouch down. Aggressively wave your arms, throw stones or branches. Never, ever turn away.
Slowly create distance— Assess the situation. Consider whether you may be between the lion and its kittens, prey, or cache. Back away slowly to give the mountain lion a path to retreat, never turning your back. Give the lion the time and ability to get away.
Protect yourself— If attacked, fight back. Protect your neck and throat. People have used rocks, jackets, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs, pepper spray, and even bare hands to turn away mountain lions.
DFW does not consider mountain lion sightings near human habitation a public safety concern as long as the lion is not exhibiting aggressive behavior toward people. The agency has scientific evidence that mountain lions inhabiting areas close to humans are not a cause for concern as mountain lions would prefer not to be seen.
Mountain lions are most anywhere they can find their primary prey — deer.