RANCHO SANTA FE — Mountain lion sightings have been reported three times recently on both Sept. 22 and Sept. 28 by a newspaper delivery man in the early morning hours.
The recent sightings on Sept. 22 were at 3:45 a.m. in the area of the Rancho Santa Fe Library and at 8:30 a.m. in the area of San Elijo Lagoon Trail west of El Camino Real near La Orilla. The Sept. 28 sighting was at 1:35 a.m. behind a home on a trail in the 17500 block of Los Morros.
“In April of this year we had a report that a mountain lion had injured two dogs,” said Matt Wellhouser, chief of the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol. “In this case there was no visual confirmation of the cat attacking the dogs. A paw print was found nearby that was a mountain lion print.”
He said there have been sightings in the nearby communities of Cielo and Fairbanks Ranch over the last year.
“Mountain lions have a large territory, so this is not unusual. They are very elusive animals and do not want to interact with humans,” he said.
However, it is not unusual for the big cats to be seen. There is no reason to be alarmed, but he does advise area residents to take a few precautions.
Wellhouser said the cougars are most active at dusk and dawn, so do not leave pets outside during these hours and do not leave children unattended outside during these times as well.
Don’t leave pet food or food that may attract animals outside.
If you see a mountain lion, make noise — lots of it. Yell, scream and bang on something. For example, pocket sized air horns are an effective way to make noise.
“We just need to be aware that we live in their living room,” Wellhouser said.
For more information, visit www.keepmewild.org.
The sightings were reported to the California Department of Fish and Game. If you should see a mountain lion, you are encouraged to call Fish and Game at (858) 467-4257. If the animal is a threat, call 911.