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Police Alert: 3 Cougar Cubs Chasing Deer Reported in Berkeley

UC Berkeley police issued a safety alert Friday after receiving a report of three mountain lion cubs chasing deer near UC's Smyth Fernald apartment complex. The day before, a cougar sighting at Lawrence Berkeley Lab prompted a stay-inside warning.

For the second day in a row in Berkeley, a mountain lion safety alert was issued Friday following another reported sighting.

UC Berkeley police issued the Friday alert, saying they had received an unconfirmed report of three mountain lion cubs chasing a doe and two fawns near a construction site at the campus' Smyth Fernwald Family Housing complex at the top of Dwight Way in the Berkeley hills.

The alert followed Thursday afternoon's "shelter in place" warning for some buildings at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Authorities issued that alert after a cougar was spotted in the area.

Mountain lion sightings are not rare in the hills above the campus and around the lab.

Here is the Friday alert from UC Berkeley police:

On 10-12-12, UCPD received unconfirmed information of a Mountain Lion
sighting near the Smyth-Fernwald construction site.  Third-hand
information was relayed to UCPD regarding a contract security guard that
saw three cubs chasing a doe and two fawns, possibly during the evening of
10-10-12.

Deer are a major food source for Mountain Lions.  Last year, several
sightings of mountain lions occurred in the hills above the Berkeley
campus and carcasses of animals suspected to have been attacked by
mountain lions were also discovered.

UCPD is following up on this information and will release further
information to the public after interviews with the security
company/guards are completed.

To reduce the chances of encountering a Mountain Lion:
•       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.

To reduce the chances of an attack when encountering a Mountain Lion:

•       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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Jack Mingo October 13, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Has anybody tried the trick of wearing a Halloween mask on the back of the head? I'm told it's a strategy that has worked well with other big cats in Africa, in that they strongly prefer attacking from behind.
Charles Burress October 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Now there's an idea! I'm trying to think which of the famous personalities depicted in masks might be the most effective. Any suggestions?

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