While human encounters are rare, cougars are dangerous as they are large predators that can seriously injure or kill humans. Conflicts can arise when a puma becomes too accustomed to the presence of humans, often near where we live or play, and begins to prey on livestock or other pets. Urban sprawl is reducing cougar habitat and increasing human-cougar conflict.
Animals that pose a threat to public safety must be fatally killed under a strict protocol developed with extensive public participation. More importantly, the relocation of problematic wildlife puts other visitors or residents of the new area at risk.
- Don’t go near a mountain lion. Most wild animals will try to avoid human confrontation.
- Don’t run away from a mountain lion. Running can stimulate a mountain lion’s hunting instinct. Get up and face the animal. Make eye contact.
- Protect young children from panic and flight.
- Be calm, stand firmly and talk laudly.
- Make yourself taller: Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing it. Throw rocks, branches or whatever is within your reach without bending down or turning your back. Move your arms slowly. The idea is to convince the cougar that you can be a threat to him.
- Slowly move away from the area.
- Defend yourself when attacked: Many potential victims have successfully defended themselves with rocks, sticks, hats, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands.
IF YOU ARE LIVING IN MOUNTAIN LION COUNTRY
- Hike or walk in groups.
- Make noise when you are outside.
- Watch over children in mountain lion habitat. Watch children when they play outside in areas where mountain lions could live and between dusk and dawn when mountain lions primarily hunt. Talk with children about mountain lions and what to do if they encounter one.
- Keep pets inside, or gave a big fence. Roaming pets can become an easy prey for predators.
- Do not feed pets outside; the food can attract many animals that mountain lion eats.
- Do not feed the wildlife!
- Trim landscaping around your home, especially near children’s play areas. Remove dense vegetation that provides hiding places for predators.
- Install outdoor lighting. Keep the house perimeter, doorways and walkways well lit at night.