In early July, a reported mountain lion attack on a dog happened near N. Kiowa and Cabresto Road. Rosie the Pitbull was badly injured and needed emergency surgery. She survived her injuries, however, other dogs have been reported with similar injuries in the area.
In light of this incident, Questa del Rio News wants to remind all of you to be safe while hiking in our beautiful wilderness areas. While mountain lion killings of humans are rare (the probability of crashing a vehicle into a deer or an elk crossing the highway is greater), they are fierce predators that can seriously injure a person.
Here are some precautionary measures to take while hiking or traveling through wilderness areas with mountain lions and other predators:
- Make your presence known by making noise.
- If possible, avoid hiking during night hours when mountain lions are more active.
- Watch out for signs of a mountain lion such as scat, claw marks, scratch piles usually made of grass, dirt, pine needles, and leaves.
- Avoid hiking alone.
- Avoid setting up a campsite near thick brush, rock overhangs and cliffs, and animal trails.
- Resist bringing any pets on hikes.
- Stick to the trails and be aware of your children, as smaller humans are easier targets.
- If you come across what appear to be kittens, immediately leave the area, as the mother is not far away.
- Stay alert.
If you come into close proximity with a mountain lion and it is aware of you and facing you DO NOT turn your back on it, DO NOT look it in the eyes, and DO NOT run away! Remain calm, face your body in its general direction, and SLOWLY back away. Cats are ambush predators, meaning they are more likely to attack prey if their prey is not looking at them. Avoid bending over and appearing like a four-legged prey animal. If possible, make yourself appear bigger (raise a walking stick, open your jacket, raise your arms, etc.). Try not to corner the mountain lion, make sure it has a way to get away from you. If it does attack you fight back with rocks, sticks, anything external you can use (preferably something within reach). Try to remain standing to protect your head and neck.