Mountain lion spotted at Cal Poly for fourth time this month

jhickey@thetribunenews.comMay 14, 2013 

Poly Canyon Village on the Cal Poly campus.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A mountain lion sighting at Cal Poly on Monday night has brought the number of sightings at or near the university to four this month.

All of the sightings have taken place near Poly Canyon Village, said George Hughes, chief of police for the University Police Department.

“This mountain lion has been seen on the hillside. That’s its natural habitat; it’s not unusual,” Hughes said.

The first sighting took place May 2 on Stenner Creek Road; followed by two sightings Sunday near the Poly Canyon Village parking structure; and a fourth sighting at 9:30 p.m. on Monday night in the same area near the structure.

Police are assuming that all sightings are of the same mountain lion, Hughes said.

Although mountain lions are secretive and attacks on humans are rare, police say there are considered threats. The university police department has emailed the following recommendations to the Cal Poly community in the event of an encounter with a mountain lion:

  • To avoid an attack, always keep children and pets close by. Mountain lions see children as a small prey animal and are sometimes tempted to attack.
  • Make noise when you’re hiking. This will help to ensure that you don’t walk up on an unsuspecting lion.
  • If you come upon a lion, give it plenty of space so it can escape. Make yourself look big and do not run. Running may kick in the animal’s natural hunting response, and it may chase you.
  • If you are attacked, try to fight back. Kick, gouge its eyes, and hit it in the face.
  • Stand your ground, stand tall, and pick up any children that are with you.
  • Bear pepper spray is also useful against mountain lions.

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