A hiking trail a few blocks from downtown San Luis Obispo is closed after two mountain lion sightings in the area during daylight hours in the past week.
San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation announced Monday that Lemon Grove Loop in the Cerro San Luis Natural Reserve would be closed for an undetermined amount of time.
"As an abundance of caution - given that the animal doesn't seem to be very shy - we've closed the trail until it appears to have moved on," said Robert Hill, interim deputy director of the city Office of Sustainability.
Rangers are monitoring the area this week and the city is using remote-sensing wildlife game cameras to try to better understand the lion's activities, he said.
There was a documented sighting of a lion near this trail last fall.
This is the second trail closed by the city due to mountain lion sightings in six months. In December, a runner came across a deer that had been killed and cached by a mountain lion in the Irish Hills, prompting the temporary closure of Morro View Trail.
A sign announcing the current closure was posted on the trailhead and seen by nearby residents.
The sign warns hikers that continuing past the gate is punishable by a fine of $561 and may put you at risk of serious injury or death.
Mountain lions tend to avoid people, and attacks of humans are extremely rare, according to data tracked by State Fish and Wildlife.
Still, hikers and nearby residents can take precaution by keeping pets on a leash and keeping children close.
SLO Parks and Recreation recommends the following actions if you encounter a mountain lion:
▪ Do not crouch down or bend over.
▪ Pick up and hold small children.
▪ Throw stones or branches, without crouching or turning your back.
▪ Raise your arms or open your jacket to appear larger.
▪ Wave your arms slowly and speak in a loud voice.
▪ Do not run from the animal. Stay standing and face it.