Mountain lion and her cubs spotted in Berkeley hills

Mountain lions have been spotted in the Berkeley hills

UC police are warning hikers to be on the outlook for a mountain lion and her cubs that may be living near the Greek Theater.

In the past few weeks, hikers have reported several sightings of a mountain lion, including one on Thursday.

“In the past few weeks there have been several sightings of a mountain lion and her cubs near the Switching Station #6 construction site on the western side of Stern Hall,” UC Police said in a safety alert sent out Tuesday. “The latest sighting was of a female mountain lion which occurred on Thursday, July 19th.”

Stern Hall is located on Gayley Road right near the Greek Theater.

Last year, there were several sightings of mountain lions in the hills above campus, according to police. Hikers also found carcasses of deer and other animals, providing further evidence that mountain lions were living nearby.

Two years ago a mountain lion made its way down from the hills and wandered through Gourmet Ghetto before it was shot and killed by police. The mountain lion was spotted around 2 am August 31, 2010 in the parking lot of what was then Elephant Pharmacy. Police shot it at 3:26 am on Walnut Street.

To reduce the chances of encountering a mountain lion:

• Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when lions
normally do their hunting. Make plenty of noise while you hike so as to
reduce the chances of surprising a lion.

• Always keep children in sight while hiking and within arm’s reach in
areas that can conceal a lion. Mountain lions seem to be drawn to

• Hike with a good walking stick; this can be useful in warding off a lion.

To reduce the chances of an attack when encountering a mountain lion:

• Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or with its young.
Most lions will avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

• Stay calm and face the lion. Do not run because this may trigger the
lion’s instinct to attack. Try to appear larger by raising your hands.

• Pick up small children so they don’t panic and run. This will also make
you appear larger. Avoid bending over or crouching.

• If the lion acts aggressively, throw rocks, branches, or whatever can be
obtained without turning your back or bending over.

• Fight back if attacked. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the
head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. People
have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks, or bare hands.

Mountain lion possibly spotted at UC apartments Tuesday
Mountain lion tours Gourmet Ghetto [8.31.10]

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  • EricPanzer

    Oh noes! Be careful, Berkeley Deer!

  • Anon

    Cougars in Berkeley?  Prrrr

  • Guest

    Please be careful and be glad!

    This is good news that can only become bad news if someone makes a mistake and gets hurt by these cats.  We live right on the verge of an area that we have preserved.  This is one of the (hopefully all positive) results of doing so.

  • Mbfarrel

    “Mountain lions seem to be drawn to


  • BerkeleyCitizen

    Does she have a permit and a business license?  I could see her activities becoming a nuisance to Berkeley residents, which is why I ask.

  • Anon

    And will the Sit/Lie Ordinance apply to her and her cub(s)?

  • Guest

     No.  Her kind downtown are summarily executed as the article so clearly states.

  • Guest

    Only mountain lions aren’t allowed to sit or lie downtown at 3:26am.

  • BerkeleyDeer

    Seriously. Is any one looking for an “indoor deer”? Maybe you can feature me on Berkeleyside next Saturday!

  • Guest

     Or walk or run or stand still…or remain alive.

  • “Mountain lions seem to be drawn to children.”  Because they are tasty little snacks?  ;-0

  • Guest

     I hope so.

    By the way, I read a comment on this site that said one of your peeps was seen at the North Berkeley Bart Station.  If you know her, you might suggest that she come back up the hill a ways and hang out there.  You read what happened to the cat in downtown.  We wouldn’t want that for your group.

  • berkeley pacifist

    This article espouses violence! Just like it was wrong for the police to shoot the poor, innocent mountain lion that that was in line for Cheese Board pizza, it is wrong to throw rocks or sticks at a mountain lion. If a mountain lion attacks you, it is best to put it in a sleeper choke hold, so neither you nor the lion gets hurt. Once it is safely subdued, you can finish your hike knowing you did the right thing.  

  • Anon

    FYI  West Berkeley is crawling with Cougars, although most of the ones I spot seem to be getting their provisions at Animal Farm so no need to fear for your pets and children.

    Since part of West Berkeley was once a separate community called Ocean View, if West Berkeley ever seceded from Berkeley proper, whether peacefully at the ballot box or due to a violent, popular insurrection, I think an apt name for it would be Cougar Town.

  • Charles_Siegel

     That is why it is called the “sittin’ and lion ordinance”

  • Remember: you don’t have to be faster than the lion. Just faster than the person you’re with.

  • 4Eenie

    Dang. So much for letting the dogs off-leash during my morning or evening hikes/runs in the hills.

  • Anon

    Not to mention that you would probably be violating some local law, ordinance or permit condition…

  • 4Eenie

    Nope, I’m a rule-follower. The dogs are off-leash on fire roads only.

  • Iceland_1622

    This may or may not help if all else fails and if you have a dog with you I would keep this with you at all times anyhow.  Never tie up or chain your dog in your yard when these cats are anywhere nearby also or it’s going to get real ugly and end very tragically.  I am personally stunned and bewildered that so many are moving in so close like this as their normal hunting ground can be up to 100 square miles.  That unfortunately does not exist anymore and it seems like very easy prey with the deer in the parks here.  Still they, or some of them, seem unfazed by the urban noise, smells and congestion and that fully puzzles me.  Some animals do *not* mix very well with humans and as some have said, neither do politicians.  One of my neighbors uses this at the local dog park to settle the usual fights and disputes.  Fox Pepper Spray:

  • Marshall

    How can you obtain rocks without bending over?

  • 3rdGenBerkeleyan

    Too many deer! the cougar population is growing

  • Harry Potter

     Wingardium Leviosa obviously.

  • For accurate information about living and recreating safely in cougar country visit:

  • 4Eenie

    Thanks for the information. The same is true for raccoons. In a fight between a dog and a raccoon, the raccoon will win.

    As for the pepper spray being used to break up fights at dog parks… that seems quite extreme to me. Assuming that the owners are there at the park, the dispute between two or more dogs should be settled either by the dogs themselves (it’s usually just posturing), or by the owners. If you have to resort to spraying something at the dogs, water usuallly works just fine. So does a set of car keys. If dogs get in to fights serious enough to warrant the use of pepper spray, the dog or dogs being that aggressive need to be removed permanently from the park. The use of pepper spray is just so extreme!

    Does your neighbor have to use that pepper spray often? What park does he or she go to? I don’t want to go there!

  • Guest

    The western site of Stern hall? One doesn’t have to be a hiker to be near there. That’s close to Founder’s rock. 

  • ku

    Dear BPD,
    Please do not murder another innocent creature. Please.
    The department has had since 2010 to prepare an alternative (HUMANE) method when responding to a mountain lion call.

  • Tadol

    There is a major project underway to clearcut large sections of the Claremont canyon in an effort to minimize fire danger. Their thinking is that a native habitat is somehow more fire resistant than the existing habitat. While I won’t argue the lack of evidence to support that, it is an incredibly expensive and expansive project being promoted by the Claremont Canyon Conservancy and UC, and destroys huge areas of natural habitat forcing all the animal life to flee to adjoining areas, which of course forces the rest of the food chain to follow. So I would suggest that although there is some evidence of overpopulation of higher order mammals, the massive destruction of habitat, including large scale spraying of herbicides and damage to watersheds, may carry alot of the responsibility for these animals being driven into the urban areas.

  • Iceland_1622

    Briefly if you ask any rural person about raccoons and hunting dogs the reality factors are brutal.  The raccoons will rip open any hunting dog that tries to corner or tree them.  Berkeley is invested with raccoons with the norm being at least one full brood per household and expanding.  Too many available food scraps via humans for this to change any time soon.  I do remember that the City was considering a City wide sterilization process to at least reduce their numbers and I never ever heard about how that worked out or even if it was ever implemented.  

    One of my former neighbors had a German Shepard who he took to the dog park at the Hearst strip park.  First time he went this pit bull launched at him and grabbed him by the throat and took him down for the kill.  The owner of the pit started a fight with my neighbor and everything went to hell.  One can hit these pits with a 2 by 4 and it will do *nothing* to break off any such attack and if the so called ‘owner’ is simple minded, neurotic and essentially infantile and comatose, you have to act quickly or it’s curtains for your animal.  Water spray, even high pressure has zero effect on such dog attacks and fights and just makes it worse ironically as it just excites them ( personal experience here ).  So the pepper is for these extreme circumstances.

    As per the mountain lions I understand that the issue is multi-factorial and I am going to leave that to others to explain in detail as it’s disturbing.  However, building into the far ex-urbs has not helped.  The average mountain lion can also run up to 1/2 mile after being darted *if* you can even hit them correctly, so this is a critical safety factor as well.  When they get down this low i.e. N. Berkeley and Shattuck Ave. it’s impossible to get them back up into the parks. Did one really show up at the N. Berkeley BART station as one person mentioned or did I not read that correctly?     

  • Guest

    The project being promoted by the CCC is not clearcutting, it is removal of eucalyptus and replacement with native species. Eucalyptus is introduced, and these trees are biological firebombs – check out Australia if you want to know more about that. They love it here because they are adapted to go without water for long periods, and so they thrive even in the driest conditions in this area. This leads to a density of growth I have never seen even in Australia. Get rid of them!

  • Mbfarrel

    If it is down in town, it is looking for prey. Kill it.

  • Guest

     The report was that someone saw a deer down there.

  • onesmallhand

    They also enjoy the poetry of Rimbaud.

  • Anonymous

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • Anonymous

     A sleeper choke hold is just another name for rape.  These cougars need equity.  And a warm pool.  And a downtown post office with surly workers.

  • Anonymous

     Do you have any nanny experience with kids aged 4-9?

  • I just hope people will leave them alone.