A sighting of a mountain lion and cubs at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab early Friday morning prompted a warning from lab officials to avoid using isolated stairs and walkways at the sprawling lab complex when it's not broad daylight.
The sighting came on the first day that UC Berkeley students began moving into campus dorms, including many freshmen with parents already apprehensive about their children going away to college. The campus and the Lawrence Berkeley Lab are next-door neighbors.
The Berkeley report followed another mountain lion sighting the night before in Woodside in San Mateo County.
UC Berkeley police warned the campus community in July about .
Here is the email Friday from the LBL communications department:
"A sighting of a female mountain lion with her cubs was confirmed between Buildings 65 and 88 early this morning. Mountain lions generally exist where deer are found, as was the case this morning. Warning signs have been placed at walkways and gate entrances. As a precaution, the use of isolated stairs/walkways at dusk, night, or dawn is discouraged. Warning signs have been placed at all Lab gates. To limit an interaction with a mountain lion, avoid hiking or jogging in the undeveloped areas of the Lab alone or at dawn, dusk or night. If you see a mountain lion, immediately call 7-911 from any Lab phone
or 911 from any cell phone.Go here for more information."
Mountain lions are seen from time to time in the hills around the lab and above the Berkeley campus, as they are in the hilly areas near El Cerrito and other communities next to the East Bay Regional Parks.
UC Berkeley police offer the following suggestions for reducing the chances of mountain lion encounters:
- Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when lions normally do their hunting. Make plenty of noise while you hike so as to reduce the chances of surprising a lion.
- Always keep children in sight while hiking and within arm’s reach in areas that can conceal a lion. Mountain lions seem to be drawn to children.
- Hike with a good walking stick; this can be useful in warding off a lion.
If you do encounter a mountain lion, campus police recommend:
- Do not approach a lion, especially if it is feeding or with its young. Most lions will avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Stay calm and face the lion. Do not run, because this may trigger the lion’s instinct to attack. Try to appear larger by raising your hands.
- Pick up small children so they don’t panic and run. This will also make you appear larger. Avoid bending over or crouching.
- If the lion acts aggressively, throw rocks, branches or whatever can be obtained without turning your back or bending over.
- Fight back if attacked. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. People have successfully fought back with rocks, sticks or bare hands.
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