It was a scene Maureen Marsalek and her family could not believe, a mountain lion was lying just a few feet away from their San Luis Obispo backyard Thursday.
“My husband, just walking back here looking out at the creek, you know, checking the water level and everything and he noticed right behind that log he could see the mountain lion," Marsalek explained as she pointed to the Prefumo Creek area near their backyard.
Just a few days ago, her family lost their dog, "Coco," to that mountain lion, so Maureen knew she had to call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife right away.
“I had an adrenaline rush because I thought, we need to take care of this because I worry about people's pets, but also the little children who live in the area," Marsalek said.
“His pattern over the last two nights was he would show up in the evening, hang out there until the morning, and then go find somewhere to sleep," said Brandon Swanson, California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Swanson says the animal showed no aggressive behavior toward people but after killing the dog, they decided it was time to relocate the animal.
The safest way was using two traps set in the area.
“They are a basic cage trap. The animal goes in, steps on a plate, the plate shuts the door. We use what we have available, deer bait, or whatever we can get. Ideally, we find a fresh kill from the lion," Swanson explained.
Then it was just a matter of time. This specific animal had a large range reaching all the way to Los Osos.
“From the video and everything that we've seen, it's likely that there were originally two lions. We did have a report that one was struck by a car on Los Osos Valley Road. We believe that one probably is deceased. It did seem to be a smaller lion. This is definitely the one that has been in the area most recently," Swanson said.
Swanson added there are other mountain lions to be aware of. This being an adult male means it’s likely there are female lions in the area.
He said to always be aware of your surroundings, and never turn your back on the animal.
Fish and Wildlife officials say the animal was successfully trapped and has been safely relocated outside of San Luis Obispo. City officials add that the cougar was fitted with a GPS tracker.
Cougar Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be hosting a “Coexisting with Wildlife in San Luis Obispo” event this Sunday, March 26 for the local community.
The free event will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel-Event Room located at 1605 Calle Joaquin in San Luis Obispo.