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Here’s What to Do During a Mountain Lion Encounter, According to Wildlife Officials

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Simi Valley residents remain on edge Friday after another mountain lion sighting was reported in the same neighborhood where a pair of cougar attacks left one dog dead and a second injured earlier this week.

Local law enforcement officers said they're working with state wildlife officials to address the issue, and they advised anyone who sees a mountain lion to report the sighting immediately.

The Simi Valley Police Department also urged those who may encounter a mountain lion—which are most active at dawn, dusk and night—to heed the following tips from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

  • Carry and learn how to use a bear spray to scare off a mountain lion. Keep it accessible.
  • Don't approach a mountain lion. Allow some space for the animal to escape.
  • Stay calm. Don't run or crouch down or bend over because doing so may make you appear like a four-legged prey. "Running may trigger chase, catch and kill response," the department said.
  • Face the mountain lion and wave your arms or open your jacket to appear bigger.
  • Throw rocks or other objects.
  • If you're with a child, pick him or her up.
  • Speak in a calm voice. Don't use high-pitched tones or screams. 
  • Inform those who are with you about how to behave around the mountain lion. Anyone running can trigger an attack.
  • In case of a mountain lion makes contact, fight back. "Research on mountain lion attacks suggests that many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, garden tools, even an ink pen or bare hands," wildlife officials said. "Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect head and neck."
  • Don't leave small children or pets outside by themselves.
  • Don't leave pet food outside to avoid attracting smaller animals that could be preyed upon by mountain lions.
  • Avoid being alone during outdoor activities and stay alert.

Cougars typically avoid humans, but sightings have been more frequent as communities expand into their natural environment, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"More than half of California is mountain lion habitat," the agency said.

For more information about mountain lions, visit the Fish and Wildlife department's website.

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