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This morning, I received an alert on my phone from the local police that a mountain lion had been spotted behind the car dealership just down the street from my house in Los Gatos. The text alert went on to say that officials from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife were onsite to assess the situation and that parents should still plan on driving their kids to school. After I dropped my daughter off at Fisher Middle School, which happens to be around the corner from the car dealership, I drove by slowly past the dealership, and sure enough, there was the mountain lion! He was laying on top of a fence that bordered a residential backyard and the car dealership, with several police officers and Fish & Wildlife staff standing by at a distance.As a recent graduate in Wildlife Conservation and a new intern for Felidae Fund, I am passionate about the conservation of mountain lions in the Bay Area. This situation immediately resonated with me, but also left me with a question: what is the correct response or reaction in these situations? I can speculate that the lion may have come into town to seek shelter during yesterday’s storm, or that it was following prey, but is now trapped. It is likely that the mountain lion just wants to feel safe enough to climb down from the fence and get back into nature, but because of human safety concerns, he is now being watched closely and he may not feel safe enough to do so.As I write this, the situation is ongoing, so I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I hope the lion is given the space it needs to move safely on.

Photo Credit: BAPP 

 

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