Mountain Lion clashes with Irvine office building – NBC Los Angeles

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Hairstylists Emily Taylor and Rukkus did a double take on Tuesday at the strange thing that happened while working at a hair salon in Irvine.

They saw people outside their building, chasing some kind of animal coming their way. They ran to make sure the door to the bishops’ salon was securely closed.

“Me and Rukkus held the door shut and were like, ‘Oh, my God…no, no, no, no,'” Taylor said.

Rukkus couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“I opened my eyes like, ‘What was that?'” he said.

It was a 2 year old male cougar. Dazed and confused, and chased by members of animal control, he continued to run towards an office complex behind a shopping mall.

Along the way, the big cat left scratches on a concrete sidewalk and froze onlookers who saw it in their place.

When it finally arrived at the offices of the Morse Micro Company, the employees at first didn’t even realize what the creature might be.

“I was thinking of putting a saddle on and riding it, that was a big thing,” witness Mark Waterhouse said.

Police say the cat didn’t attack or bite anyone, but it did leave a “what if” trail.

Given the animal’s size and health, officials said it would be a candidate for release into the wild.

There are about 4,000 to 6,000 cougars in California, but wildlife officials call that a rough estimate with no ongoing statewide study. More than half of the state is considered prime habitat for big cats, which can be found wherever deer are present.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife receives hundreds of mountain lion sighting reports each year. Rare are the instances where mountain lions are identified as an imminent threat to public safety, the department said. Cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare and their nature is to avoid humans.

Here is a complete list of recommendations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on what to do when encountering a mountain lion:

  • Don’t hike, bike, or jog alone. Stay alert on the trails.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when cougars are most active – at dawn, dusk and at night.
  • Supervise small children closely.
  • Dogs off leash on the trails are at increased risk of becoming preyed upon by a mountain lion.
  • Never approach a cougar. Give them an escape.
  • DO NOT RUN. Stay calm. Running can trigger a chase, grab, and kill response. Don’t turn your back. Face the animal, make noise, and try to look taller by waving your arms or opening your jacket if you’re wearing one; throw stones or other objects. Pick up little kids.
  • Do not squat or bend over. Crouching puts you in a vulnerable position where you look like 4-legged prey.
  • Be vocal; however, speak calmly and do not use high-pitched tones or high-pitched shouts.
  • Teach others how to behave in a meeting. Anyone running can launch an attack.
  • If a lion attacks, retaliate. Research into mountain lion attacks suggests that many potential victims have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks, gardening tools, even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay upright. In the event of a rollover, try to protect your head and neck.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, call 911 immediately.
  • Report unusual mountain lion behavior to your local CDFW regional office.
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