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A Mountain Lion Sighted in Golden Gate Park & Lake Merced

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San Francisco park officials on Friday announced two confirmed mountain lion sightings in the city in recent weeks, one at Golden Gate Park and the other at Lake Merced in the southwestern part of the city.  Neither report indicated aggressive behavior toward humans, but scare the shit out of us.

SF Rec and Parks, working with Animal Care & Control and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, posted signs at Golden Gate Park, where a mountain lion was spotted in the park’s west end on Tuesday, and Lake Merced, where a sighting was reported Aug. 21.  Neither report describes aggressive behavior by the big cat toward humans, which is extremely rare.

I’d like to point out that I was personally in Golden Gate Park this weekend, and saw NO SIGNS warning me of lion attacks.  And I am a prime target, I am supple, slow and usually quite inebriated while outdoors.

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary animals that avoid people. According to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, there have been only 16 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in California in 130 years, only six of them fatal. The last documented attack occurred in 2014 in Santa Clara County.

It is normal for mountain lions to come and go from natural areas, including in San Francisco. Chances are high that these animals have, or soon will, move out of the area.  Mountain Lions live all over California, they prey mostly on deer, but I still wouldn’t let your Labradoodle out at night for a little while.

Report any mountain lion sighting in San Francisco to 311. Out of an abundance of caution, keep a close eye on small children in areas where mountain lions have been spotted, keep pets on a leash, and avoid hiking, biking or jogging alone, especially at dawn, dusk and night, when the cats are most active.

California Fish and Wildlife offers the following tips if you come face to face with a mountain lion:

Do not approach
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

Mountain Lion FAQ

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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