California's something of a hotbed for mountain lion sightings. If you recall, a few weeks ago, I shared the video of a cougar taking an early morning stroll through the Hollywood Hills suburbs. The lion didn't cause any real trouble during that incident, however. Earlier this week, a family a run-in of their own with one of the big cats in nearby Orange County—and the result was substantially scarier.
According to a report from the Orange County Register, officials shot and killed an aggressive mountain lion that had been stalking a family in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park last Sunday, March 30. Madison Smith and her two children—one as young as 5-years-old—were enjoying an afternoon hike when a mountain lion approached them from behind and began acting aggressively. The report claims that the hissing cat got within six feet of Smith's son.
Fortunately, another hiker on the trail sprang into action and drove the cougar away with a shout and a few well placed rocks. The family got away safely and called the authorities. Sheriff's deputies and a Fish and Wildlife warden ultimately found the lion, which they tried to scare away. The cat—which was later estimated to be about a year old and weighed 60 pounds—continued to act aggressively, though, and officials were forced to shoot it. The Fish and Wildlife department intends to examine the animal's remains to determine if disease prompted its aggression.
Mountain lion attacks are rare, but present a very real danger that should be prepared for. The Smith family was fortunate to have an experienced hiker nearby. Be ready for what's in the wilderness, folks.
Can You Spot the Mountain Lion?Mountain lions are typically stealth hunters, and aren't particularly easy to spot in the wild—as evidenced by the video embedded below, which was posted by M2D Camo a couple of years ago and has recently made its rounds on the web. Give it and look, and see how soon you can spot the approaching cougar.