Sightings of mountain lions in the Berkeley hills seem to be increasing

The UC Police this morning reported an unverified sighting of a mountain lion on Tuesday night at the Smythe-Fernwald apartment complex off Dwight Way. According to the police, there was an  unverified sighting of two mountain lions running north on Lawrence Road toward Glaser Road at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in December.

In August, 2010, a mountain lion wandered into the Gourmet Ghetto late at night. It was eventually shot by police, who were concerned about the safety of residents in a densely populated area. Experts from the state Department of Fish and Game said at the time that mountain lions were attracted by the easy availability of prey — the growing deer population in the East Bay Regional Parks.

Fish and Game provides advice on its website for people that live in “mountain lion country” — over half of California’s land area. Among the suggestions are:

  • Avoid hiking alone, particularly between dusk and dawn, when lions normally do their hunting.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • If you do encounter a mountain lion, do not run. Instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or with its young.
  • If attacked, fight back.

The Fish and Game policy is to kill mountain lions that threaten people. According to the department, moving mountain lions is not an option, because it causes deadly conflicts with other lions.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...