Stalking mountain lion has to be shot

Rancho Loco

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Action taken after it approaches golfer

By Gregory Alan Gross
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

February 28, 2004

JAMACHA – Sheriff's deputies shot and killed a mountain lion that was within walking distance of an elementary school yesterday morning after a golfer reported being stalked by the animal.

The confrontation began about 9 a.m. when a man looking for golf balls just off the Cottonwood golf course heard a rustling in the bushes behind him, said sheriff's Sgt. Peggy Frailey.

The man thought it was a snake, but when he turned, "the mountain lion was about four feet away from him," Frailey said. "It showed absolutely no fear of humans."

Three deputies kept the animal contained in the brush until officers from the state Department of Fish & Game arrived about an hour later. It was on their advice that deputies shot and killed it, said Fish & Game Lt. Mike Ference.

The incident took place close to several schools, including Jamacha Elementary School, about 500 yards away on Jamul Road.

The decision to shoot the animal, Ference said, was "based on the time of day the animal was seen, the fact that it was stalking a human and it was found in close proximity to schools and a golf course. The actions of this lion were not normal."

The lion, a male, was between 1 and 1½ years old and weighed about 50 pounds, Ference said. There were no outward signs of rabies or other diseases.

One witness, Ben Fishburne, said the man who encountered the cat tried to feed it. "He told me (he) tried to give him a Pop-Tart," Fishburne said.

There were signs the lion had not eaten in many days, leading to some thought it might have been driven from its normal range by the October fires and was starving.

"It appeared to be, but we won't know for sure about that until a necropsy is performed next week," Ference said.

Frailey said the option of tranquilizing the mountain lion was considered, but ruled out.

"What we were told is, once they've established an area as their territory, they won't abandon it," she said. "Even if it had been tranquilized and relocated elsewhere in the county, it would've come back."

After the lion was killed, Fish & Game officers scouted the area for signs of a second lion, but none was found.

"Apparently, when they're young like this, it's not unusual for them to travel in pairs," Frailey said.

The incident comes about six weeks after a 35-year-old bicyclist, Mark Jeffrey Reynolds, was killed and a female cyclist was badly mauled by a mountain lion in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County.

That 110-pound cat was tracked down and killed near where Reynolds' partially buried body was found.

Wildlife biologist Renee Owens, who works with the San Diego chapter of the Sierra Club, said development on the cats' habitat, not the October wildfires, was more likely the major factor in yesterday's encounter.

"Mountain lions have a territory of about 100 square kilometers," she said. "Think about all the building we've done in this county. Try to imagine a mountain lion moving around through a territory of that size without coming into contact with humans."

There were 10 confirmed fatal attacks on humans by mountain lions between 1890 and 1990, and seven more between 1990 and 2000, in both the United States and Canada.

Owens said: "It's not that mountain lions have lost their fear of humans. It's that we've forgotten how to deal with wildlife, live with wildlife. It's not that they're everywhere; we're everywhere."
 

Freedivr2

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The guy tried to feed the lion a pop tart??????


I think the lion was looking at the guy as a pop tart! Some folks just never cease to amaze me at what they think is OK or safe to do..........hmmmmmmmm
 

DKScott

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I think I might have given the lion a pass on this one. He was clearly an agent of natural selection and was just trying to help our species evolve.
 

Dave in LB

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I'm not a fan of the big cats at the moment but a 50 pounder! Come on maybe we could have trapped and moved that little guy.

As to the Pop-tart dude it's too bad he didn't get ascar or two since they whacked the cat anyway.
 

hunterteen

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something like that should have been captured, checked for rabies/other diseases and been put in a zoo to keep it out of trouble.
 

ozstriker22

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One less mouth to feed. One more deer to live till next year.
 

spectr17

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
I'm not a fan of the big cats at the moment but a 50 pounder! Come on maybe we could have trapped and moved that little guy.[/b]

DFG does not move bears or cats anymore. The liability if a moved cat or bear attacked someone would be huge. Huger than Rosie O'doughnut's girth.
 

arlow

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Originally posted by spectr17@Feb 29 2004, 03:30 PM
Huger than Rosie O'doughnut's girth.
Come on Jesse, you know thats just not possible!
 
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Arlow-

In California's Court System- ANYTHING is possible.

Just this Californians
's

Dan
 
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I live about 3 minutes (toll road minutes that is) south of where Mark Reynolds was killed...and it never ceases to amaze me at how people (my neighbors that is)interact with wild animals. People hand feed raccoons to the point where they are not afraid of humans any longer...and that's not a good thing!! There are some people that even leave dog food out for the coyotes because they feel bad for them!!!!

Argggghhhhhhh!!!!!
 

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