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Fish and Wildlife experts begin tracking mountain lion in San Luis Obispo

mountain lion file image.png
Posted at 6:10 PM, Nov 28, 2022

For over a week, we have been closely following the mountain lion sightings reported in the city of San Luis Obispo.

“Be aware that this is happening right now there is an increase in lion activity at the moment," said Brandon Swanson, a biologist with California's Department of Fish and Wildlife.

California Fish and Wildlife officials believe multiple mountain lions have been spotted in the San Luis Obispo region, but in the Vista Del Lago park area, it seems like there may only be one.

“I think our neighborhood is calm but cautious. It is a large cat and so everyone is kind of keeping the animals inside and kind of communicating with one another in case anything happens which is really good to see," said Paul Swigger who lives near the area.

Communication between neighbors led community member Lori J. to find out what happened to her cat "Oreo" who had been missing for a few days.

“She was typically on my fence in my backyard, but sometimes went in the creek area she was an indoor/outdoor cat," said Lori J.

After a few days of looking for Oreo and putting up missing poster signs, a neighbor told her some bad news.

“The mountain lion had Oreo in its mouth and the neck seem to be broken. I spent most of Thanksgiving mourning the loss of this cat that I raised since she was a kitten," said Lori J.

Swanson said mountain lions typically do not eat pets but instead see them as competition.

“We put out some wildlife cameras in this area. We found a fresh deer kill and put a camera on that. The lion did come back at one point but seems it abandoned the kill," explained Swanson.

Fish and Wildlife officials said the cameras help them track the lion’s activity and figure out its sex and age, but as far as its current whereabouts, that is unknown at this time.

“We did have a report that shortly afterthe incident with the dog it was struck by a car so we don’t know," said Swanson.

The biologist added relocation is a tricky issue as it does not usually work and the animal ends up coming back.

Killing the animal is not something the department is considering at the moment.

“We don’t want to kill the lion. The department is very clear on that. That is the last resort and if human safety were the issue that would be the reason why. So far it’s being a lion," said Swanson.

“I would hate to see an animal like that be put down just because it’s treading through its natural area," added SLO resident Swigger.

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