[Editor’s Note: Reader Jennifer Pearson has been keeping us up-to-date on recent discussion of sightings of mountain lions (aka cougars) in the Berkeley Hills on neighborhood listservs.]
From Jennifer Pearson on Saturday, Oct 2
Fwd: [from the LOCCNA neighbor association]
Subject: More mountain lions-- Notice to LBNL staff
Dear Colleagues, See below on mountain lion evidence at LBNL. Please do education of our Berkeleyans who come from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc and have not learned about coexisting with wildlife.. Absent knowledge of what to do...some panicked folks are now buying guns?
Forwarded message from Alan Gould:
Notice from LBNL copied below. In light of our recent community night on mountain lions, I'm not so sure that the part that says "If you see a mountain lion, immediately call 911" is really the best thing to do. I'm bccing this to someone at felidaefund.org to see if they have anything to add. I had not known that the mountain lion that was killed in our neighborhood was a male.
Occasional sightings of mountain lions around the Lab are not unusual; however, due to a recent series of incidents, it would appear a mother and two juvenile mountain lions are spending more time in the area.
In addition to the sighting and killing of a male lion in north Berkeley on Aug. 31, two young lions were sighted, and a dead deer and goat were found, near Building 85 last week. A dead fawn was found on Monday near Building 64, and multiple sightings of a female lion and her offspring were made earlier today.
While mountain lion interactions with humans is extremely rare, Lab employees and guests should take precautions to prevent possible attacks. Avoid being outside and alone during dawn or dusk hours, when lions are most active. If you encounter a lion, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger. Do not run away.
If you see a mountain lion, immediately call 911.
Safety is everyone's responsibility, so please take the necessary steps to prevent injury to yourself and others.
Associate Lab Director for Operations
Chief Operating Officer
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Received from Jennifer Pearson on September 22:
Are Berkeley public servants cautioning the inexperienced CITYWIDE? These cougars have been present long before 'pioneers' and settlers took land. This Colusa Ave. sighting (at night) is close by the opened Blackberry Creek at Berkeley's Thousands Oaks Berkeley Elementary School Park -an ancient movement corridor for wildlife.
The ALERT below was sent to Neighborhood Watch Groups in Kensington by Officer Doug Wilson.
Are we asking Berkeley citizens to report on the presence of cougars and bobcats when we catch a glimpse or find their scat in our gardens?
For example, on Lincoln Street near the Milvia Poetry Garden fish pond an experienced wilderness camper found cougar scat on a driveway near his wife's door in early August. (Wildlife follow the water corridors--Lincoln Creek flows under ground of the school playground and street.)
From Officer Doug Wilson, Kensington Police Department:
I want to mention a Security Alert. On Tuesday, 9/21/10, at approximately 1730 hours, a taxi cab driver reported seeing a small Mountain Lion in the area of Berkeley Park Blvd and Colusa Ave.
His call advised dispatchers that the Mountain Lion walked into an unknown direction and the cab driver did not feel threatened by it. On-duty Kensington Officers completely checked the area for a good amount of time and they did not observe the animal. We have had no additional calls since.
Now, please be aware there are many animals in this area all the time, we often don’t see them. But the reason I am sending you this, “Security Alert” is because I want you all to be cautious (especially at night) and use common sense safety tips such as being on alert at night and using lights when out walking with or without your dogs. Maybe keep some legal pepper spray/mace with you on your late night walks. You can “Google” where to buy the products legally. Also, please call 911 if you hear or see anything that you think Police should check out.