Sunday Aug 31 2008
Mountain lion attacks goat in rural area near Cool
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
A recent mountain lion attack in Cool has Department of Fish & Game officials reminding locals about how to live safely around wildlife. John Mills, who lives on Enchanting Trail, off Aaron Cool Road in Cool, witnessed what he said was a mountain lion attacking one of his neighbor’s goats in the early morning hours of Aug. 21. “I and another neighbor heard it, but the people whose goat it was, they slept right through it,” he said. “I wasn’t about to go out and check on it.” Mills said he understands that the mountain lion is a wild animal acting on instinct, but still has concerns. “I hope it doesn’t come back,” he said. Kyle Orr, public information officer for the Department of Fish & Game headquarters in Sacramento, said more than half of California is considered mountain lion habitat, including the foothills. Orr said some 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions are believed to live throughout the state. Mountain lions have a range exceeding 100 square miles, so it’s likely the mountain lion has traveled some distance since attacking the goat. “That mountain lion could literally be 20, 30 miles away the next day,” Orr said. A mountain lion’s primary prey is deer. “They’re opportunistic predators, and they will take livestock,” Orr said. “They do have a pretty strong preference, among livestock, toward goats.” Orr said residents should provide sturdy, covered shelters for outdoor animals like livestock, and should not leave pets outdoors, especially at dawn, dusk and at night. Only 14 cases have been documented, since 1890, of mountain lions attacking humans, Orr said. “Mountain lion attacks on humans are very rare,” he said. That said, they are a top-of-the-line predator and they are dangerous. Orr advises against hiking, biking and running alone at dawn, dusk and at night. If you encounter a mountain lion, it’s important not to approach the animal or flee. “Face the animal, attempt to look bigger, throw rocks,” Orr said. “In the rare cases that people are attacked, they should fight back.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment online at Auburnjournal.com.