A mountain lion killed several farm animals at Jack Creek Farms in rural Paso Robles early this week, although authorities say the incident is common for the area.
“We typically get about 10 reports of (mountain lions) a year,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Todd Tognazzini, noting this was the third such incident in the past several weeks.
“It’s not uncommon for mountain lions to be up in that rural area. It’s where we would expect them to be,” he said.
Joy Barlogio, the owner of Jack Creek Farms, said her family discovered Tuesday that the farm’s three goats and four geese had been killed in their enclosure sometime the night before, by what appeared to be a mountain lion. She contacted Fish and Wildlife and a state trapper to come out to the farm, and they confirmed that it was a mountain lion that had killed the seven animals.
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“We’ve had animals killed by predators in the past, but this was different for us,” Barlogio said. “They were sweet, sweet goats and sweet, sweet geese. They were just exceptional.”
She said the goats, named Vanilla Bean, Caramel and Butterscotch, and the geese, known as “Goosers,” were very popular among visitors to the farm, which also operates a fruit stand and u-pick garden, among other attractions.
Despite offers from people to donate other farm animals, Barlogio said she has no plans to add new animals in the near future.
“People have been very sweet, offering (new animals), but first we would have to figure out how to keep our animals safe,” she said. “It was just too sad to go through again.”
Tognazzini said the best way to protect farm animals is to keep them in a barn or similar structure that a mountain lion cannot get into at night. Because mountain lions can easily climb fences and trees, fenced enclosures are not enough to dissuade them from going after farm animals.
Other helpful actions include adding more lighting around livestock and utilizing guard dogs, Tognazzini said.
Mountain lion safety tips can be found at the Fish and Wildlife website at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/lion.