Unconfirmed West Pasadena Mountain Lion Sightings in Lead Up to Weekend’s “Co-Existing with Wildlife” Forum

Published : Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 5:54 AM

Multiple reports of mountain lion sightings in West Pasadena, one reportedly well out of the Arroyo Seco and in a neighborhood near South Orange Grove Boulevard, remain unconfirmed by the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA, which now plans to host a free “Co-Existing with Wildlife” on Sunday.

Although the Humane Society is joined by the Pasadena Police and Fire Departments and California Fish and Wildlife in saying there have been no verified reports documenting actual mountain lion sightings in Pasadena, experts say it is possible. More likely, however, the sightings were of bobcats.

“When you’re out walking and you think you see something in the bushes that’s kind of fluttery and it looks like a cat, it could be a bobcat, that are much more numerous in our area than mountain lions are,” said Ricky Whitman, Vice President for Community Outreach and Marketing at the Pasadena Humane Society.

Whitman offered tips on how one should react when confronted by a mountain lion, some of which could venture into the foothills near Pasadena and Altadena, attracted by mule deer — which happens to be the mountain lions’ favorite food.

“We have a lot of deer in our foothills, and if you come across a deer carcass, if it has twigs on it or leaves on it, leave it alone. Leave the deer carcass alone because a mountain lion may be watching it,” Whitman said.

A California Fish and Wildlife official said the only recent mountain lion activity near Pasadena was in Azusa last month. But Andrew Hughan, Information Officer at the agency, says seeing a mountain lion in Pasadena is always a possibility.

“There are most definitely lions around Pasadena,” he said. “I remember a report of lion at JPL a few years ago, and the mountains above are certainly lion and bear habitat.”

Mountain lions, Whitman said, are pretty elusive and it’s unusual to see them. The felines are large, between 100 and 150 pounds, have a tail that can get as long as three feet, and tawny in color with a dark tip on the tail.

Bobcats are much smaller than mountain lions. Adult mountain lions could be between seven and eight feet long, while bobcats grow only up to three feet in length.

“Bobcats are – actually I find them quite cute; they have tufts in their ears and they are orange and black, and weigh about 15 to 35 pounds,” Whitman said. “And a tiny bobtail, that’s the other difference.”

So what should you do if you with a mountain lion?

“Do not run. Number 1, don’t run, they’ll chase you,” Whitman said. “They’re very fast. But I would back away, I’d make noise, I’d make myself look big, and if you yell and make a lot of noise and just show that you are big and tough and strong, then they have no business around you. You’re not their favorite meal.”

Do not move towards them, they will attack if they feel threatened, Whitman said.

Whitman said it would be unlikely mountain lions would be seen venturing near homes, as bears do sometimes.

“There are mountain lions in the area, but again they are very, very shy and they don’t want to be around people,” she said.

The Pasadena Humane Society’s Co-existing with Wildlife class will be between 3 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, at the the Pasadena Humane Society-SPCA classroom at 361 S. Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.

The free seminar will have the Pasadena Humane Society Wildlife Coordinator Michelle Reyes discussing how to humanely co-exist with wildlife, some of which have been venturing into communities as a result of the long drought and warmer weather.

Other topics will include how to prevent wild creatures from visiting your property and what to do if you see a wild animal. Rachel Barboza, a biologist and environmental scientist form the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, will moderate a live Q-and-A session following the presentation.

No RSVP is required.

For more information, visit www.pasadenahumane.org.


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