Mountain lion seen ‘sauntering’ on Park Hills Road

Following the Gourmet Ghetto mountain lion and the lion and cubs seen near LBL, Mark Rieffel reported the following sighting on the Park Hills neighborhood listserv:

This morning (Sunday) shortly before 9 AM my wife Jan drove south on the segment of Park Hills Rd between the island where it meets Woodside and the island where it ends at Shasta. As she was right by the last house on the right, a mountain lion sauntered across Park Hills Rd, just past the last house on the right, only a few feet in front of Jan’s car, going east towards Tilden Park. It seemed to ignore her car, and was in no hurry.

It’s thrilling to have such beautiful wild animals on our doorstep, but Berkeleyans who frequent Tilden Park and the areas nearby should probably familiarize themselves with the California Fish and Game Department’s advice on mountain lions:

Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, conflicts are increasing as California’s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Do not approach a mountain lion.
  • If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person,
    immediately call 911.
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  • Thanks for the mountain lion advice list. A question I have had, the answer to which seems obvious to any parent/grandparent, is what do you do if a mountain lion does grab a child? My guess would be that you follow the advice to “fight back,” even if this means you need to “join” the fight.

    But sometimes common sense is wrong. Perhaps the right answer is to shout, act large, and start throwing things at the lion. Does anyone know the correct answer?

  • sfbaywalk


  • Here is some more advice on what to do when living in mountain lion regions and what to do if you see or encounter a puma:

    1. Living and recreating in mountain lion regions

    a. Trim vegetation surrounding your house where pumas might find cover
    b. Install outdoor lighting, preferably motion sensor lights in the most heavily trafficked areas.
    c. Do not feed or attract deer or other wildlife.
    d. Remove plants that attract deer, raccoons, etc. More deer means more mountain lions. In more rural parts of the country, birdseed may attract animals that pumas might prey upon.
    e. Keep pets and pet food inside at night, and make sure you know where your pets are during the day – they make easy prey. This will protect them from coyotes and bobcats as well.
    f. Fence livestock and keep contained in secure enclosures with a roof, especially at night.
    g. Supervise children, particularly during dusk and dawn, when mountain lions are most active. Educate them about what to do if they see a mountain lion.
    h. Avoid hiking, biking or running alone
    i. if alone consider carrying pepper spray or mace and a walking stick
    j. Keep children in front of you and close by
    k. Never approach a puma of any size, especially a kitten
    l. Make noise
    m. Never approach a wildlife carcass
    n. Avoid recreating between dusk and dawn

    2. If you see or encounter a puma:

    a. Maintain eye contact
    b. Do not approach the lion, no matter how enthralled you are to see one.
    c. Do not turn your back or run as this may trigger their instinct to chase. Stay calm!
    d. Appear as big and threatening as possible
    e. Never turn your back. Give the mountain lion room to run away. Do not corner it.
    f. Pull children close to you and pick them up without crouching down
    g. Throw rocks sticks, water bottles, backpacks and any heavy objects available to you
    h. Speak loudly and firmly. Wave your arms and clap your hands above your head.
    i. Fight back if attacked. Do not play dead or lie down.
    j. If you believe the encounter to be a valid public safety concern, report your sighting to your state and game agencies and any local wildlife organizations.
    k.“You are more likely to be killed by falling plane parts than by a cougar, but ‘it is impossible to reduce the small risk to zero without eliminating either cougars or humans from cougar habitat,’ points out Paul Beier, one of North America’s premiere cougar researchers. ‘Neither is acceptable’”. (From Forest Cats of North America. Jerry Kobalenko, p. 87, Firefly Books, 1997).

    Visit for more information.

    Information Courtesy of:

    Felidae Conservation Fund
    The Mountain Lion Foundation
    The Cougar Fund

  • Ephemerol

    If you walk on any hiking path or in remote areas in general, you might consider buying this special pepper spray that is designed for grizzly bears and is good to thirty feet. If your child is in danger use this to break up any attack *if* you have the time to think clearly and act rapidly as these cats are very fast when need be: You can break up dog attacks easily as well in any dog park at this safer distance. If you do not have this at hand try a C02 fired extinguisher and go right for the face with it. They use this to back stage to herd circus cats into their cages or if they become rowdy. I personally would have one of these ( large pepper cans ) if I lived up near the park and carry a smaller one while on any hiking trail. In fully honesty the cat will always have the advantage as they are ultra fast when needed and yet if you fire just one 9 mm over their head as my friends in the Sierra foothills do, they will run from the noise and break off any thought of attack. The *louder* the weapon the better. You do not have to hit them unless necessary. All of my information is subject to more experienced thought and opinion on this matter. If worse comes to worse, keep a good metal baseball bat handy and use it in a critical situation.

  • If loud noises (guns) are a good idea, how about one of those LOUD airhorns? It seems to me they would scare almost any animal, especially if pointed at the animal. Anyone hear about this as a non-lethal/non-poisonous option?

  • Clinton John

    I’m scared.