A mountain lion has been spotted in the Berkeley hills for the second time in two months.

According to an email alert from the University of California police department, sent out Friday around 9:40 a.m., the cougar was spotted on Thursday around 6:30 p.m. near the fence that separates the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Berkeley Lab.

“A couple was seated on a bench west of the Vista Lot of LHS when they spotted the mountain lion down the hill near the east fence line of LBL,” UCPD wrote in the alert. “The animal was on the LBL side of the fence.  It looked toward the couple and walked away.”

The last cougar sighting reported by UCPD also happened in the early evening and was on Berkeley Lab property, as many sightings are . On Sept. 19, a lab employee spotted a mountain lion near the west fence line of Building 88 in the westernmost part of the lab campus.

In April, a mountain lion ventured closer to a residential neighborhood when it wandered all the way down to the Clark Kerr Campus, near Warring Street and Dwight Way.

Deer are a major food source for mountain lions and sightings over the past couple of years have been associated with the discovery of animal carcasses suspected to have resulted from attacks by mountain lions, according to UCPD.

UCPD advises taking the following steps to avoid encounters with the large felines:

  • 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 arms 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.

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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...