MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) There has been another mountain lion sighting in Monterey County, this time at Fort Ord National Monument. Mountain lions are not uncommon visitors to the region.
“I’ve spotted some before when I’m here and you know you kind of stay away from them.” I saw them from a distance, not up close, ”said hiker David Garcia.
But earlier this week, one of those big cats left its mark after sneaking into a goat pen for dinner.
“I’ve been running goat projects for the county for about five years. I have never had a mountain lion attack or other predatory animal attacks on a goat. I have had a goat stolen by humans, but never a predatory animal. Bryan Flores, Chief of Parks for Monterey County.
The mountain lion killed two goats, which are part of the Wildfire Fuel Reduction Program, in an open area north of Watkins Gate Road, between East Garrison and CSUMB. This is not the first time that goats have been attacked. Years ago the Shepherd had an incident in Carmel and Monterey.
“Unfortunately, during that time it wasn’t a puma that came in for a meal. Then it kind of went into binge mode and killed around 20 goats in one night, Flores said.”
The hot, dry weather we experienced might have something to do with visiting the puma.
“Drought isn’t just affecting farmers and the people who water their lawns. This has an impact on wildlife and especially when their water sources dry up and they also go looking for water, they go looking for food at the same time, ”continued Flores.
For regular Fort Ord guests, many were not surprised by the news of the sighting but were still uncomfortable about the recent event. “My brother told me that there might be potential pumas around here. It scares me, I bring my weight and come with a friend,” said hiker Rita Nunez.
On the other hand, that hasn’t stopped people from enjoying the many miles of trails. “It doesn’t scare me that much, I’m just thinking of the stats and you don’t hear too many attacks on people so I’m trying to ignore it,” said mountain biker Mark Kirker.
Signage will be installed to inform cyclists and hikers of the sighting. Monterey County also placed a post on their social media page. When you decide to go on the trails, do not let your children or pets go too far, keep them close.
If you happen to have a close encounter with a puma, Bryan Flores advises you to keep eye contact with the animal, appear tall, make loud noises, and back away slowly. The most important thing is to maintain this eye contact.
For now, the cat will be left alone. “Usually Fish and Wildlife and / or law enforcement don’t prey on the cat unless it no longer becomes a pest where it returns night after night,” Flores said.