Cougar killed in N. California, investigation underway

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Mountain lion killed
By KAREN WILKINSON, The Eureka Reporter
Published: Sep 15 2008, 8:16 PM
Updated: Sep 15 2008, 11:09 PM
A mountain lion was shot and killed after it chased a woman near the Mad River Fish Hatchery on Friday evening, officials said. In another unrelated incident, a mountain lion was spotted in Bayside on Monday morning.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting of the mountain lion, including why it was chasing someone, are under investigation, Department of Fish and Game Northern California Hatchery Supervisor Linda Radford said. “Normally they stay away from people,” she said. “But when they come around people, you can either scare them off or not, and this one wasn’t.”
The woman was “very shook up,” but uninjured, Radford said.
Calls to a game warden supervisor seeking more details about the lion and the incident weren’t returned by deadline.
Speaking in general terms, DFG Humboldt County biologist David Lancaster said the only time mountain lions are killed is if the wardens determine the animal to be a public safety hazard.
“It has to be directly aggressive toward someone,” he said. The mountain lion could also be deemed a hazard if it’s diseased or behaving strangely, Lancaster said.
“But someone feeling uncomfortable with a lion in the area doesn’t count,” he said. “Only if it’s directly aggressive to someone does it get put down.”
In the Bayside sighting, officers from the Arcata Police Department went to the 1700 block of Old Arcata Road at about 10:20 a.m. on Monday. The cat was last seen walking east on Spring Hill Road into the wooded area to the east of Old Arcata Road, a news release stated.
Officers checked the area on foot without locating the mountain lion, and the California Department of Fish and Game was notified of the sighting. Neighbors in the area, including officials at Jacoby Creek School, were contacted and advised.
The APD is reminding persons who encounter a mountain lion to take the following steps to let the lion know they are not prey:
* Look large, raise your arms and yell.
* Throw stones, branches, whatever can be reached without bending down.
* Do not crouch.
* Keep pets and children close by.
* Don’t run; it may stimulate the lion’s instinct to chase.
* Fight back if attacked.
* Remain standing and face the animal.
Most mountain lions do their best to avoid an encounter with humans, the release stated, and if approached, give the cat a way out and never approach one yourself. Should a mountain lion be seen near a populated area, residents are asked to notify the Arcata Police Department.
Karen Wilkinson can be reached at or 707-269-7441.

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