The City of Glendale Parks and Recreation Department has released a warning to those hiking in the Verdugo Mountains and San Rafael Hills of a mountain lion presence.
Several residents have reported sightings over the past few days, according to Russ Hauck, Glendale park ranger manager. Most sightings have not been confirmed; they were reported by people who described what appeared to be a mountain lion.
“But one sighting was confirmed by Glendale Police helicopter officers,” Hauck said. “They saw the mountain lion sunning himself on a rock.”
That sighting of the cat, estimated to be about 200 pounds, was made near the Whiting Woods area in Crescenta Valley.
Hauck added that mountain lions are common in the area and that they were here before the developers.
“People ask why [mountain lions] are coming into our area now,” he said. “We are moving into their [area].”
The most recent sightings have been near Crescenta Valley Park and Whiting Woods. Mountain lions have a hunting range of about 100 miles and Hauck said it is possible that the cat that was hunting in the La Cañada area months ago could be the one that is now in the Crescenta Valley.
He explained that the cat who grabbed dogs last year and pulled them out of their La Cañada backyards most likely attacked because they were in a yard or confined in an area — the animal was trapped and easy prey. Mountain lions are normally leery of dogs. They “prefer meals that don’t fight back,” Hauck added, “like deer.”
Hauck said that mountain lions are common in California but when there are several sightings in one area the department takes the opportunity to remind people, especially those in the foothills, that we share our community with wild life.
“When people cross the street, they look both ways,” he said. “When they are at an ATM they look over their shoulder, but when we go out for a hike we seem to leave caution behind.”
Hauck said he does not want the public to panic but to remember to be cautious when hiking.
Some tips on what to do when hiking:
• Do not hike or bike alone.
• Keep children close; keep children within your sight at all times.
If a mountain lion is sighted:
• Do not approach the lion.
• Do not run from the lion (make eye contact, pick up children without bending down).
• Do not crouch down or bend over.
• Do all you can to appear larger (raise your arms, open your jacket, wave arms slowly, talk loudly).
• Fight back if attacked (throw rocks, use sticks, remain standing).