By Tim Hunt
Mountain lion alertUploaded: Jan 8, 2013
Wildlife alertCastlewood Property Owners told its members last Friday that a mountain lion was spotted strolling across the golf course between Castlewood Drive and Greens Lane.
For those unfamiliar with the neighborhood, that's in the heart of the country club on the hill course (Castlewood Drive is the main road. The lion was seen near as are the 2nd, 17th, 18th and 1st fairways.
The association management wisely lifted some of the best practices in dealing with a large wild cat that is happy to prey upon the Bambis that frequent the neighborhood.
We live below the club on Foothill Road, but still have seen and witnessed the damage from numerous deer (all of our roses and other important plants are behind high fences). Last summer, we saw a multi-pronged buck wandering in our back yard near the lemon tree.
So, what are best practices because mountain lions have been off-limits without a special permit for more than 20 years.
The property owners offered the U.S. Forest Service's recommendations that are largely common sense, but offer some important recommendations:
• Avoid walking alone and at dusk or dawn.
• If the lion notices you, stand up and be as "big" as you can. Never, never, never bend over. Maintain eye contact. Do not run.
• If you have something in your hand and the lion is approaching, throw it and bellow at the lion.
• If you are walking with children or animals, pick them up without bending over or looking awaythis will take lots of imagination.
• If attacked, fight back as aggressively as you can. P.S.if you have your gun, use it.
• If you see a lion, report it to the Sheriff's Office, 510-667-7721. In unincorporated areas, the department has the responsibility for animal control.
The point: as has been observed elsewhere, expanding human housing has been encroaching on habitat areas. And lions, with no natural predators, have been seen in much more developed areas than the rural Castlewood area. Castlewood has been here for many, many decadesthe original club buildings are more than 100 years old.
What has been the effect of the "let's be kind to the lions" initiative on the mountain lion population. As one who has been to Africa many times, I shuddered when I saw one of the hunting shows on NBC/Comcast chronicle the killing of a magnificent leopard (I've actually seen a small one in the wild in Kenya.)
That's a far cry from controlling a dangerous predator in neighborhoods.