If You Encounter a
Mountain Lion
The following suggestions are based on studies of mountain behavior and analysis of attacks by mountain lions, tigers and leopards:
Do not hike alone. Go in groups, with adults supervising children. Keep children close to you. Observations of captured 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 that they do not panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the lion.
Do not crouch 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. 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.
Fight back if attacked. Some hikers have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.
For more information about mountain lions, please contact the Department of Fish and Game, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.
The above is an extract from 'Outdoor California' magazine. There is information about mountain lions at BBC Science and Nature website. Mountain lions are in fact becoming an endangered species due to the encroachment of building and people into their natural environment.
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