Cougar sightings are increasing in OC. I suspect we have more than one and that they have been here in residence or just passing through for several years. It would appear that they are traveling the old Rapid Transit train line (Bender Park abuts the Rapid Transit Line) and the Oak Creek. Both green space corridors are areas adjacent to sightings. Following is info residents may find useful if they should have an encounter.
"Mountain Lion warning sign: Due to the expanding human population, cougar ranges increasingly overlap with areas inhabited by humans. Attacks on humans are rare, as cougar prey recognition is a learned behavior and they do not generally recognize humans as prey. Attacks on people, livestock, and pets may occur when the cat habituates to humans or is in a condition of severe starvation. Attacks are most frequent during late spring and summer, when juvenile cougars leave their mothers and search for new territory.
As with many predators, a cougar may attack if cornered, if a fleeing human stimulates their instinct to chase, or if a person "plays dead". Exaggerating the threat to the animal through intense eye contact, loud but calm shouting, and any other action to appear larger and more menacing, may make the animal retreat. Fighting back with sticks and rocks, or even bare hands, is often effective in persuading an attacking cougar to disengage."
Cougar's are most active around dawn and dusk. Our sightings have been in the afternoons. Wear a bell, whistle while walking, take your large dog along if you like to hike in these areas. They feed naturally on coyotes and deer and should not have any problems finding food in this area.
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