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Mountain Lion Encounter

(copied directly from NPS Morning Report)
Over the past month, rangers have noticed an increase in mountain lion signs and vocalizations along the Old Pinnacles Trail.

On the night of March 31st, a ranger patrolling the trail alone heard movement on the hillside above him, followed by the sound of a large animal running down the hillside in his direction. Turning his flashlight on, he saw that the animal was a medium-sized mountain lion. The ranger's flashlight then faded and died. He tried to yell but unfortunately was hoarse from a cold and could barely speak above a whisper. He drew his pistol and, when the lion closed to within five yards, fired a round into the hillside between them. The lion veered off and continued across the trail ahead of the ranger into the brush of a creek bottom. The ranger backed down the trail, covering the area where he could hear the cat moving along the creek bed. The cat followed the ranger for about 300 yards, then disappeared.

Ten days later, a resource management employee hiking the same trail at midday reported what she believed to be a mountain lion growling at her from the brush. Rangers have posted educational and safety information regarding mountain lions at trailheads in response to these incidents. [Jerry Case, PINN, 4/15]


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