A mountain lion cub was spotted by a UC Berkeley employee just east of the Cal campus Tuesday. Photo: Creative Commons (file photo)

A UC Berkeley employee spotted a mountain lion cub on Tuesday evening near the Greek Theatre, east of the main Cal campus.

UC Berkeley Police sent out an alert Tuesday, around 8:40 p.m., to say that a female UC Berkeley staffer was walking on the pathway between Bowles Lot and Foothill Lot on Tuesday at 5 p.m. when she encountered a mountain lion cub.  “The cub immediately ran away in the direction of the Foothill Housing Unit,” they wrote.

Deer are a major food source for mountain lions, and there have been several sightings of mountain lions in the hills above the Berkeley campus, over the past few months. Carcasses of animals suspected of having been attacked by mountain lions have also been discovered.

The last time Berkeleyside reported on a mountain lion sighting was on Nov. 20 when one of the wild cats was seen outside the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory perimeter fence by parking lot F, according to a UCPD.

That was the third sighting in Berkeley in the fall of 2017. In September, two hikers encountered a mountain lion near Grizzly Peak’s Sign Post 2, and a UC Berkeley employee spotted one near Centennial Drive and Rim Way. Last summer, one lion was seen roaming around the Clark Kerr campus.

A Cal staffer was walking on the pathway between Bowles Lot and Foothill Lot on Tuesday at 5 p.m. when she encountered a mountain lion cub. Image: Google Maps

UC Police provided tips to reduce the chances of encountering a mountain lion:

  • Avoid hiking or jogging alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when lions normally do their hunting. Make plenty of noise while you hike so as to reduce the chances of surprising a lion.
  • Always keep children and pets in sight while hiking and within arm’s reach in areas that can conceal a lion.
  • Hike with a good walking stick; this can be useful in warding off a lion.

To reduce the chances of an attack when encountering a mountain lion:

  • Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or with its young. Most lions will avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
  • If you 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
  • Fight back if attacked. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. People have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks, or bare hands.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...