On 1/9/19 around 2245 hours a motorist reported seeing what they believed to be a mountain lion on the 200 block of Park Lane. The animal was not reported as acting aggressive and fled at the sight of the passing vehicle. Atherton Police dispatchers attempted to make telephonic notifications with the residents in the immediate vicinity of the reported sighting. APD officers checked the neighborhood and were not able to verify the sighting as a mountain lion. Please consider the following safety tips if you encounter a mountain lion:
If you see a mountain lion:
Stay calm. Hold your ground or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright.
Do not approach a lion. Never approach a mountain lion especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
Do not crouch down or bend over. Biologists surmise mountain lions don't recognize standing humans as prey. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. If you're in mountain lion habitat, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
If the mountain lion moves in your direction or acts aggressively:
Do all you can to appear intimidating. Attempt to appear larger by raising your arms and opening your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. If looking bigger doesn't scare the mountain lion off, start throwing stones, branches, or whatever you can reach in its direction without crouching or turning your back. During the initial stages of a mountain lion encounter, the idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
If the mountain lion attacks you:
Fight back. Protect your neck and throat. People have used rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away mountain lions.
Please report any sightings or human encounters with mountain lions in public or residential areas to the Atherton Police Department. The Atherton Police Department will make notifications and arrangements to address the situation in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as appropriate.
For more information regarding mountain lions in California please view the follow the following link: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Mountain-Lion