A mountain lion was caught on video peering into the home of a California man.
Footage from a Ring doorbell camera shows the big cat coming right up to the front door of the property of Stuart Hall, who lives in the Prefumo Canyon area of San Luis Obispo. The incident was captured on the camera at about 5 a.m. Tuesday. Hall told Newsweek he was asleep at the time and did not wake up. Hall said he was “amazed the animal came right up to our front door.”
Mountain lions are a large cat species native to the Americas, with a range stretching from Canada’s Yukon Territory to the Strait of Magellan in Chile in the south. In the United States, they are mostly found in 14 Western states, inhabiting a wide range of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts and wetlands. The population of these cats in California is estimated at about 4,000 to 6,000.
Human encounters with mountain lions are rare, given their elusive and solitary nature. The chances of the cats attacking humans are extremely small, but wildlife authorities urge people to be alert and take appropriate precautions in mountain lion country, particularly families with pets and small children.
Mountain lion sightings appear to be on the rise in some areas, such as San Luis Obispo County. Since 2018, there have been 370 confirmed reports to local and federal agencies in the county, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported. And in the past three years, there have been far more sightings than previous years, reaching a peak of 100 reports in 2020, compared to just 55 in 2019, for example.
“There’s definitely been a recent uptick,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) biologist Brandon Swanson told the Tribune in December. “We don’t know for sure why that is, but we have some theories.”
One potential explanation is that a large male mountain lion recently died or lost control over his territory, encouraging others to move into the area. Another is that the increasing prevalence of cellphone cameras, doorbell cameras and other devices is leading to more sightings being recorded.
The mountain lions could also be attracted to the area by large numbers of deer, which they prey on. In general, increasing urbanization in many areas across the country might also be leading to more sightings as human sprawl encroaches further into the territory of the big cats.
Hall said he checks the notifications from his Ring camera every morning before stepping outside. That’s when he noticed the video of the mountain lion. He wanted to share the video to alert his neighbors of the presence of the cat in the area. Hall also reported the sighting to the DFW.
This is not the only time in recent weeks that Hall has spotted a mountain lion outside his property. He said he made another sighting a couple of months ago.
“It was the mountain lion that they captured and took away that I saw a couple of months ago,” he said. “This is a different one—that’s what the department of wildlife seems to think.”
In March, DFW officials trapped a mountain lion in the area and relocated it while fitting it with a collar and ear tags, Swanson told KSBY. The cat in Hall’s video had no collar or tags.
Swanson said the mountain lion that was trapped in March was an adult male, indicating that there were likely females in the area.
The trapping came after a number of reported sightings in the neighboring Prefumo Canyon, Irish Hills and Laguna Lake areas over the past few months. Some of the incidents involved mountain lions killing pets.
For example, the cat that was trapped and relocated was responsible for killing a family’s dog. After losing her dog Coco, San Luis Obispo resident Maureen Marsalek reported the incident to the DFW immediately.
“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 told KSBY.
The cat had not acted aggressively toward people, but the DFW decided to relocate the animal because of the dog killing. Department officials relocated it outside the city and fitted it with a GPS tracker.
In February, another dog was killed by a mountain lion while on a walk with its owner, who was unharmed in the incident.
“It took her and took her down the creek. I could hear her yelling, yelling. She was yelling and yelling, and I couldn’t do anything. It was so horrible,” San Luis Obispo resident Alysha Periera.
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