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Mountain Lions in L.A.

Though some authorities around the country have denied the expansiveness of the mountain lion’s range, more and more sightings are proving that the big felines have spread across the land. The latest run-in with a cougar occurred in a Los Angeles suburb, where a two-year-old, male lion slept under bushes in a small neighborhood.

The cat was tranquilized and removed, but not before a nearby school went into lockdown mode, fearing for the students’ safety.


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Thomas Powell

This doesn't surprise me. I was on a business trip to LA 6 years ago. Some co-workers mentioned the old MASH 4077 site at Malibu State Park outside of LA. So I went there on a Saturday morning. Didn't realize how remote it would feel. For the exception of two ladies on horseback I didn't see anyone else.

Well, on my hike down a dried-up creek bed, I swear I was being trailed. First I could hear the bushes on the embankment. Since the creek was dry, the embankments were about 8 feet high. I switched sides of the creek bed and after a minute or two I could hear something running across the rocks. From the beginging I felt it was a Mountain Lion even though no one had mentioned to watch out for Mountain Lions. I guess even after 2000 years of civilization, the instincts are still there in us humans. I knew it would want to take me from an elevated position, so I switched sides often as I heard him switch. Once I got to a trail leading away from the creek bed I took it. I found the MASH site and walked up an elevated position to see if he was still stalking me but I didn't see anything. As I was walking back towards the creek bed, as I knew no other way to get back to my car, I heard something excited in a nearby bush. I thought it was possibly the Mountain Lion waging its tail in anticipation like my house cat would do. I simply walked around the bush leaving probably 30 yards between us. It didn't appear to follow me back down the creek bed.

I spoke to someone living in that area before I left to return to North Carolina. They were not surprised but they also acted like it was no big deal. I think when people are relaxed around predators then this allows the predator to lose its fear of humans. I'm glad I survived that close encounter without even a scratch.

I saw on the news a couple of years later that a Mountain Biker was not so lucky. He was riding in a park area in the greater LA area and was killed just around sunset by a Mountain Lion.

Since my encounter was probably around 10:00 AM and it was sunny, I've often wondered if that made the difference. If I had been in that same situation at sunset, would I be a news story?

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