Credit: Zach Donnenfield / Mustang News

After a mountain lion reportedly attacked a woman and her dog in the Laguna Lake neighborhood of San Luis Obispo, the City of San Luis Obispo shared advice from Biologist Freddy Otte on avoiding mountain lions. The email also included precautions the community can take to stay safe and how to manage local wildlife.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is working on trapping the mountain lion responsible for recent attacks. Once captured, the lion will be collared, evaluated and relocated to a remote setting. 

While mountain lion attacks on humans are rare in California – with 21 verified attacks since 1980 – residents should still take precautions to stay alert.

Otte encourages residents to avoid recreational open space areas during night, dawn and dusk, as mountain lions are most active during those times. If outside during those times, stay on well-lit trails and travel in groups, making loud noises to notify a presence to mountain lions.

If in a situation of coming across a mountain lion, Otte recommends remaining calm and remember that they are a shy species likely to avoid humans. 

“If you happen to encounter one, maintain eye contact and back away slowly while making yourself as big and loud as possible,” Otte wrote.

Residents should avoid feeding wildlife, as it may attract predators to populated areas. Mountain lions prey on vulnerable and small animals, so pets should remain inside at night.

Any sighting or encounters with mountain lions should be reported as a Wildlife Incident Report to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife team. If threatened by a mountain lion, call 911 immediately.

“By being aware of our surroundings and, as a community, taking the necessary precautions, we can coexist peacefully with these majestic cats in their natural habitat,” Otte said in the email.