Homeowners in the Hollywood Hills were surprised last week when they checked their security cameras.
A mountain lion can be seen strutting confidently on the sidewalk in front of the house in the 3400 block of La Somba Drive. The location is east of Highway 101 through the Cahuenga Pass and northwest of the Hollywood Reservoir.
A flash of light reflected from the fat cat’s eyes can be seen through the darkness before it passes a row of trash cans in front of the driveway to the house.
The mountain lion, probably celebrated P-22, wore a tracking collar. The P-22 roams the hills in the heart of Los Angeles, sometimes making headlines.
There are around 4,000 to 6,000 pumas in California, but wildlife officials are calling it 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 anywhere deer are present.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife receives hundreds of cougar sighting reports each year. Few of the results identify mountain lions as posing 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 full list of recommendations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on what to do when encountering a cougar:
- Do not hike, bike or jog alone. Stay alert on the trails.
- Avoid hiking or jogging when pumas are most active – at dawn, dusk, and at night.
- Closely supervise small children.
- Dogs off the leash on the trails are at an increased risk of falling prey to a puma.
- Never go near a puma. Give them an escape route.
- DO NOT RUN. Stay calm. Running can trigger a chase, capture, and kill response. Don’t turn your back. Face the animal, make noise, and try to appear taller by waving your arms or opening your jacket if you are wearing one; throwing stones or other objects. Pick up the little kids.
- Do not squat or bend over. Crouching puts you in a vulnerable position and looks a lot like 4-legged prey.
- Be vocal; However, speak calmly and don’t 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 on cougar attacks suggests that many potential victims have successfully retaliated with stones, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or with their bare hands. Try to stay upright. In the event of a tip-over, try to protect your head and neck.
- If a cougar attacks a person, call 911 immediately.
- Report any unusual mountain lion behavior to your local CDFW regional office.