For the second spring in a row, a cougar has been spotted roaming a neighborhood in Apple Valley, with a big cat also spotted across town.
The Apple Valley Sheriff’s Station reported that at 11:29 p.m. Wednesday, they received a call from an adult mountain lion in the front yard of a residence in the 12000 block of Tamiani Road.
The area is east of Kiowa Road and between Pah-Ute and Bear Valley Roads, and near Apple Valley Fire Protection District Station 334.
The caller reported that the cougar had attempted to attack his pet cat. Deputies responded but could not find the cougar.
A Tuesday Facebook post by an Apple Valley resident included a pre-dawn photo of a mountain lion lurking near their front door near Kiowa and Bear Valley roads.
Tuesday’s sighting location is less than half a mile from the puma spotted on Tamiani Road.
Sheriff officials also shared a surveillance photo, taken earlier in the week, of a mountain lion in the front yard of a home on Chiwi Road.
The area is north of Highway 18 and west of Apple Valley Road, and about eight miles from mountain lion sightings on Tamiani Road and Bear Valley Road.
Another Apple Valley resident told the Daily Press on Thursday that over the weekend they spotted a mountain lion near the intersection of Japatul Road and Esaws Avenue, north of the highway. 18.
The Japatul Road area lookout is about 5 miles from the Tamiani Road lookout.
Authorities are unsure if the cougar sightings are the same animal.
Other big cat sightings
In May 2021, predawn video surveillance captured a mountain lion near Skyline Ranch Drive and Sitting Bull Road, between Apple Valley and Kiowa roads, according to sheriff officials.
The sighting of a mountain lion last year near Sitting Bull Road is less than 2 miles from the animal spotted this week on Tamiani Road.
In February 2019, photographer Tishia Morrison used her camera to capture an image of a large mountain lion as it drove near Kiowa and Tussing Ranch roads in Apple Valley. Authorities searched for the cat but never located it.
Shortly after Morrison photographed the cat, Hesperia officials reported the capture of a mountain lion in a neighborhood near Danbury and Temecula avenues.
The capture involved officials from Hesperia Animal Control and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who tranquilized the animal and transported it to the local mountains, the city said.
Additionally, in February 2019, state fish and wildlife officials removed an ailing mountain lioness that had taken refuge in a family’s garage in the Lucerne Valley. Authorities later euthanized the animal due to poor health.
In September 2015, former Lucerne Valley Leader editor Peter Day photographed a mountain lion after climbing a 35-foot-high electricity pole south of Cougar Buttes on East End Road.
Several studies from Colorado State University and Colorado Parks and Wildlife have found that mountain lions that move through populated areas are primarily motivated by hunger.
While a mountain lion can be hungry at any time of the year, cats go longer periods between shots during the winter and until late spring when the number of wild prey is the lowest.
April and May are the times when conflicts between cougars and humans can be greatest, mainly because the animals become so hungry that they often use backyards to hunt for food, studies show.
US Forest Service Safety Tips
- Don’t go near a lion. Most cougars will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Don’t hike, bike, or jog alone. Stay alert on the trails.
- Avoid hiking or jogging when cougars are most active (dawn, dusk, and night).
- Supervise small children closely.
- Dogs off leash on the trails are at increased risk of becoming preyed upon by a mountain lion.
- Don’t run away from a lion. Running can stimulate a mountain lion’s hunting instinct. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact.
- If you have young children with you, pick them up if possible so they don’t panic and run.
- Although it may be awkward, take the children without bending over or turning away from the puma.
- Do not squat or bend over at any time. In the presence of a cougar, a crouching or leaning person looks like prey on all fours.
- Do everything you can to appear more visible. Lift your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one.
- Throw rocks, branches, or anything you can reach without crouching or turning your back.
- Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the puma that you are not prey and that you can be a danger to him.
San Bernardino County Safety Tips
- Do not leave your children, cats or small dogs unattended.
- Do not feed or encourage a lion’s dependence on humans.
- Do not feed deer as the food will attract mountain lions.
- Clear unnecessary brush and piles of wood from your home to reduce hiding places.
- Feed your pets indoors or scoop up uneaten food after your pet is done.
- Take out the trash on collection days at the latest.
- Have adequate fencing to keep your pets in and wildlife out.
- Install motion sensor lights.
- Get your pets vaccinated against rabies.
Report all sightings to Apple Valley Animal Shelter at 760-240-7555. The after-hours emergency line is 760-961-6001.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz