The wild turkeys that roam the Berkeley hills might be trying to make themselves scarce before Thanksgiving, but a mountain lion spotted strutting around the area on Sunday had no such qualms.
The cat was seen outside the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory perimeter fence by parking lot F, according to a UC Berkeley police alert sent out Monday afternoon.
“The mountain lion was not aggressive and disappeared down the hillside,” the alert said. “The area was searched, but the mountain lion was not found.”
The animal might have been out scouting for deer to eat. There have been multiple mountain lions seen in Berkeley in recent years, and carcasses of deer and other animals likely devoured by them have also been found, said the alert.
The mountain lion sighting is the third in Berkeley this fall. In September, two hikers encountered a mountain lion near Grizzly Peak’s Sign Post 2, and a UC Berkeley employee spotted one near Centennial Drive and Rim Way. Over the summer, one lion was seen roaming around the Clark Kerr campus.
Though they tend to wander the hills, one mountain lion made its way down to the Gourmet Ghetto in 2010, where Berkeley police shot and killed it.
The UCPD alert included the following advice for staying safe in the event of a mountain lion sighting, or avoiding one altogether:
To reduce the chances of encountering a mountain lion:
- Avoid hiking or jogging 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 and pets in sight while hiking and within arm’s reach in areas that can conceal a lion.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.