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Mountain Lion Sighting in Winchester
A mountain lion has been sighted in Winchester. A resident reported seeing a mountain lion in the Dunster Lane, Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood off of Ridge Street. Massachusetts Environmental Police responded and viewed the animal’s paw print and stated the tracks strongly resembled that of a mountain lion. Photos of the tracks were sent to Mass Wildlife for verification. The Mountain Lion Foundation website offers a lot of information to the public including this excerpt:
HOW SAFE ARE
Excerpt from Outdoor Magazine
California Dept. of Fish & Game, May, 2012
“DFG (California Dept. of Fish and Game) does not consider mountain lion sightings near human habitation a public safety concern as long as the lion is not exhibiting aggressive behavior towards people. Mountain lions occur most anywhere you can find their primary prey, which is deer. As you likely know, deer not only live in remote forests, but also in green belts, parkways and riparian corridors along rivers. As such, mountain lion sightings in these areas are not uncommon, and DFG receives numerous reports of lions in these settings every month. Mountain lions are considered beneficial in these settings as they maintain healthy deer herds by keeping their populations in check.
DFG has scientific evidence that mountain lions inhabiting areas close to humans are no real cause for concern. We have either conducted or been associated with mountain lion studies that have monitored their movements in such areas. We typically capture mountain lions and place a radio collar on them in order to track their movements. The information gleaned from these collars has provided some illuminating results. They have indicated that mountain lions regularly use such areas more frequently than we have previously thought, and that these lions generally attempt to stay away from people.
For example, in Southern California, university researchers have placed collars on these big cats in a heavily used park. They also placed trail loggers and remotely triggered cameras along popular trails to estimate human use. Surprisingly, the results indicated that some lions were mere feet away from people who were unaware of the lion’s presence. During the course of this study, no reports of aggressive lion behaviors were ever reported to the researchers or park personnel.
“The Mountain Lion Foundation also suggests several steps to keep yourself safe in the unlikely event you encounter a mountain lion:
If you do see a mountain lion, no matter how thrilled you are to be one of the very few who gets such an opportunity, stay well back, and take the encounter seriously.
Make yourself appear as large as possible.
Make yourself appear larger by picking up your children, leashing pets in, and standing close to other adults. Open your jacket. Raise your arms. Wave your raised arms slowly.
Yell, shout, bang your walking stick against a tree. Make any loud sound that cannot be confused by the lion as the sound of prey. Speak slowly, firmly and loudly to disrupt and discourage predatory behavior.
Act like a predator yourself.
Maintain eye contact. Never run past or from a mountain lion. Never bend over or crouch down. Aggressively wave your raised arms, throw stones or branches, all without turning away.
Slowly create distance.
Assess the situation. Consider whether you may be between the lion and its kittens, or between the lion and its prey or cache. Back slowly to a spot that gives the mountain lion a path to get away, never turning away from the animal. Give a mountain lions the time and ability to move away.
If attacked, fight back. Protect your neck and throat. People have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away cougars.
For more information, download the pdf brocheure published by the Mountain Lion Foundation and visit their site at http://www.mountainlion.org/portalprotect.asp
Mountain Lion Brochure (pdf download)
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