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Lion Sightings Spur Awareness Campaign

Several mountain lion sightings around the Conejo Valley in recent months have prompted park rangers to launch a public awareness campaign in Thousand Oaks.

Conejo Recreation and Park District General Manager Tex Ward said there have been several sightings in Wildwood Park and North Ranch. A deer that had been killed by a mountain lion was found in the Triunfo Open Space in Westlake, he said. But there haven’t been any face-to-face encounters between humans and the mountain lions, Ward said.

Mountain lions are known to make their homes in the Santa Monica Mountains and nearby hills. While scattered attacks on humans in recent years have caused panic, biologists say it is rare for mountain lions to attack people.

“If you actually see a mountain lion you should consider yourself lucky,” said Ray Sauvajot, a wildlife biologist with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “Most people don’t get the opportunity.

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“The only time you should be concerned is if the mountain lion is behaving in a strange way,” he said.

That would include approaching you--mountain lions can be curious but they usually shy away from humans--or swishing its tail.

Sauvajot said it’s important not to run away, otherwise you might appear as prey.


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