Hello, Southwest Shore Families and Friends,
Reminding us again that our cabins are part of the forest, in addition to the recent bear activity observed on the SW Shore, we have a very recent filmed sighting (by a “surveillance cam” operating by motion detector) of a mountain lion in the Keystone Point area in the middle of the night. It was a fleeting partial shot, but certainly appeared to be a cougar, and has been identified as such with 95%+ certainty by a game expert. This cougar was alone – as expected since cougars are solitary creatures who meet with other adult cougars only to mate. Also the camera sighting at night was not surprising since cougars are primarily nocturnal and most active at dusk and dawn.
What is unusual is that this mountain lion was observed at all, since they are very secretive, avoid humans, are primarily nocturnal and are therefore rarely sighted by humans – despite their presence in all mountain areas of Southern California, including the Santa Monica, San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto ranges. They live by hunting deer and a wide variety of smaller animals.
Some comforting facts: The risk of any of you being killed by a mountain lion is statistically much lower than the risk of being killed by your own pet dog, or drowning in your bathtub, or dying from a snake bite, bee sting, or lightning strike.
Having said that, mountain lions are such formidable creatures (weighing up to 200 lbs., capable of sprinting 35-45 mph, and leaping horizontally for 30 to 40 feet and vertically for 15 to 20 feet) that we should be aware of best practices in the extremely unusual event of confronting one. A review of the literature tells us that the safest mode of hiking or walking is in groups (especially if small children are present), and the most successful response is to slowly back away while maintaining eye contact. The results are marginally worse for those who instead choose to freeze, or throw rocks, or run (unless you are very fast and have a very short and unobstructed distance to a safe spot). It is a good idea to keep pets indoors at night and on leash when outdoors – and as with the bears, do not leave any food or refuse outside the cabin or accessible.
Again, it is unlikely in the extreme that any of us will ever sight or confront a cougar, even if one is moving through the area, so covering these safety suggestions is just for background and general information.
July 20, 2016
Note: The photo is not "our" cougar. The photo was obtained from the High Desert Museum, Bend, OR (www.highdesertmuseum.org)