A man hiking near Pyramid Lake over the weekend had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a young mountain lion, but he was able to scare off the large cat in an incident that was captured on video.
Dutch Faro, a 21-year-old musician and private chef, was on his way to Bakersfield on Saturday afternoon when he recalled a friend mentioning the northern Los Angeles County reservoir. He decided to stop and check it out.
Faro was hiking back from the water around 2:30 p.m. when he encountered the young mountain lion.
In an interview with KTLA Wednesday, Faro recounted the scary moments of realizing he was being targeted by the puma.
“I saw it in my peripheral vision,” he said. “And then I tried to yell at it, nothing happened. And it was just about to jump and pounce on me and … I had primal instinct and roared at it.”
Faro provided cellphone video of the encounter to KTLA, showing the mountain lion creeping closer before the young man begins to roar at the animal.
“That was my last hope,” Faro said. “It was coming at me, what, was I going to keep on running? I stood my ground and just roared at it.”
To his surprise, that action worked and the big cat slinked off.
“I thought I was going to have to fight this thing,” he said.
Faro told KTLA he could tell the mountain lion wasn’t full grown, and he was concerned the big cat’s mother would show up.
If the puma had reemerged, Faro added, he would’ve jumped into he lake. It didn’t, so he grabbed a stick as a precautionary measure and hiked back to his car.
Mountain lions are known to populate the region, but sightings of the notoriously solitary and elusive creatures are “extremely rare,” according to the National Park Service.
Should you encounter one, though, NPS officials provided the following tips:
- Try to appear as large and intimidating as you can, doing things like yelling, waving your arms and/or throwing objects toward the mountain lion.
- Back off slowly, giving space for the big cat to move away
- Don’t turn and run