Orange County’s Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has been closed after a family noticed that a mountain lion was following a child over the weekend.
The sighting comes as state officials say they’re monitoring two young pumas in the area after their mother was killed by a car in the last few weeks.
In the Whiting Ranch incident, a park employee was near the family and was able to scare the cat off, officials said.
The park was still closed Monday out of an abundance of caution, and it remains unclear when it will reopen.
Also on Monday, California wildlife officials were setting up cameras in Rancho Santa Margarita in an attempt to monitor the two lions orphaned after their mother was hit by a car near the Tijeras Creek Golf Club.
Officials believe the family of three had been living near the golf course, and they want to track the young pumas to see if they’ll be able to fend for themselves. The pair are larger than cubs and appear to be about a year old.
Although they may be distressed, officials say it’s never a good idea to try to feed wild animals like the mountain lions.
Authorities were unsure if the young pair could be involved in the Whiting Ranch sighting. The golf course is about 10 miles from the wilderness park by car.
There have been several mountain lions spotted at Whiting Ranch over the years.
In January 2020, a 3-year-old boy at the park was injured in a mountain lion attack. Months later, the park was closed as a precaution following a number of sightings, including of one lion said to be exhibiting “bold behavior.”