Happy Earth Day from the Mountain Lion Foundation! This year, we highlight our wild neighbors and the importance of keeping them wild. If you are lucky enough to live near land that still supports wildlife, there is a chance you may see or meet some of your wild neighbors.
When neighbors make an honest effort to know and respect each other, it can make a difference in the lives of all inhabitants, both human and wild. Being an aware and considerate neighbor is one of the best ways to keep a naturally diverse community safe for all its residents. The most important way to keep our neighborhoods safe for people, pets, livestock, and wildlife is to reduce the number of attractants to wildlife.
How can you be a good neighbor to your human and wild neighbors?
Keep children safe. Teach children about mountain lions and other wildlife in your area and what to do if they see wildlife.
Keep pets safe. Keep pets indoors from dusk to dawn.
Secure livestock. Livestock should be housed in predator-proof enclosures from dusk to dawn.
Don't feed wildlife. Leaving out pet food or garbage may attract raccoons, opossums, skunks and other possible prey animals that could draw mountain lions onto your property.
Don't attract wildlife. Remove plants that may attract deer and other potential prey animals to your property.
Remove cover. Remove vegetation around your property that could be a place for lions to hide during.
These are all vital actions to keeping neighborhoods safe for all inhabitants, human and wild. Your neighbors are counting on you not to attract wildlife to your neighborhood!
Why are mountain lions important?
Mountain lions play an important role in the ecosystem, providing priceless ecosystem functions. Mountain lions primarily prey on deer, which helps to regulate deer populations and keeps landscapes from being overgrazed. As a result, communities where mountain lions are present have greater biodiversity - diversity of plant and animal species! Additionally, mountain lions help reduce the spread of tick-borne diseases and contribute to public safety by reducing deer-vehicle collisions by keeping deer numbers low.
What should you do if you encounter a mountain lion?
Knowing how to react if you encounter a mountain lion is the best way to keep yourself, children, pets and mountain lions safe. They're counting on you to keep them safe!
Be vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings and be attentive of small children and pets.
Do not run.Predators instinctively chase what runs.
Pick up small children and pets. Try to keep children and pets calm and pick them up.
Maintain eye contact. Do not crouch down or run. Wave your arms, throw stones, branches, or even your cell phone.
Get big. Make yourself appear as large as possible. Convince the lion that you are not prey and that you are dangerous.
Make noise. Shout at the lion in a deep voice, bang things together, rattle keys, etc.
Slowly create distance. As excited as you might be to see a lion, do not approach it. Back away slowly and consider if you may be between the lion and its kittens or a kill.
Protect yourself. In the rare event of an attack, fight back. Protect your hands and neck and fight back with whatever possible.