By Miriam Raftery
November 12, 2010 (Alpine) – People in an Alpine barber shop in were startled to see a mountain lion roaming along the 1700 block of Alpine Blvd. shortly after 9:30 a.m. The lion reportedly leaped from a pine tree and later ran into bushes next to a home near the Alpine Community Center and Alpine Elementary School, prompting the Sheriff’s department to summon Fish & Game officials. By the time wildlife officers arrived, however, the lion was gone.
“This one was fairly small, the guy at the barber shop said,” Lt. Robert Haley with the Alpine Sheriff’s substation told East County Magazine. Witnesses were confident that the big cat was a lion, Haley added, and not a bobcat which is smaller and has no tail. “They saw a tail on this one.” A bystander also observed the head and ears poking up above shrubbery while officers were on hand and said that it appeared to be a fairly small lion, possibly a young one, he added.
In a 10 News interview, barber shop owner Dean Poore described the mountain lion as "big", however, "at least 90 pounds."
Angela Brookshire, director of the Alpine Community Network, said she spoke with Poore, who indicated that he saw the lion and so did a customer. “He showed me the tree that it climbed up across the street,” Brookshire said. “He says that he absolutely knows what a mountain lion looks like, and it was a mountain lion.”
Daytime sightings of mountain lions are rare, since the big cats are normally nocturnal. This is the second broad daylight report of a mountain lion near an East County School this week, however. Two days ago, a lion was spotted near Jamacha Elementary School in the Rancho San Diego area by a parent at 10 a.m.
Sheriff’s dispatch received multiple calls about the lion in Alpine this morning, Haley said. The lion has likely been helping itself to meals at the residence where it was reportedly hiding in bushes today. “The lady there had lost eight chickens and some cats,” Haley added.
Sheriff’s deputies kept watch to assure that the lion would not pose a danger to school children or others, however the lion eluded authorities and escaped. Fish and Game officers scoured the area but found no prints, though the area was grassy, according to Haley.
“We’ll keep a patrol in the area,” he added, noting that the school district superintendent has been notified to warn parents about a mountain lion close to the school. “It was right across the street.”
Fish and Game officials have the option to trap and relocate the lion if it is determined to pose a threat to children in the community, Haley said.
Shooting a mountain lion is illegal in California, except in cases where a depredation permit is obtained when a lion kills livestock. Violators may face criminal penalties.
sensationalism at its epitome. "Near a school!"
Do you really intend to have the cougar shot?
This is a cub. 35-40 lbs. May have lost its mom. It might be best to point out that it has been around for awhile. It is not new news, it is old news around Alpine.
I think it might be better to help people coexist with cougars. It was done for over 100 years out here. It is one of the reasons there are still cougars.
Yeah I love them.
Once I was hunted by one. Scared me pretty badly. But I laid the blame for my scare on the adults who should have been watching me.
Out here it is pretty neglectful to allow your children more than 25 feet from you, especially on a horse. Cougars generally leave anything over 125 lbs. alone. They do not like dogs. And they are afraid of loud noises. A neighborhood can rid itself of cougars and coyotes simply by making a lot of noise when they are seen or heard. Bear sounds and human growling are pretty scary stuff to a lion or a coyote. They run.
When you hike and walk out here, it is best to carry a big stick along with a fully charged cell phone. Walking sticks are useful for moving rattlers out of your way, and if need be a stick can be used as a weapon. If you see a cougar. Stand still and keep your eyes on their eyes. Wave the stick up over your head, making yourself look big. Do not run. Do not turn your back. Stay upright, make yourself look as big as you can. Make a bunch of loud noise. If it is near dusk or dawn, this if often the worst time for cougars, and by the way, snakes as well.
Best of all things when reports are occurring do not walk or hike alone if you are under 125 lbs. Remember the buddy system? It is generally not a good idea to hike alone.
It would help if the media would confine themselves to the story giving us "Just the facts, and only the facts."
It is a cub. An immature cougar who does not know what it is supposed to do. It may be eating pet food left outside at night. So there you have it. Bring in your dog or cat food at night. No reason to feed the coyotes your cat or dog with bait for an ambush. Even raccoons will kill small domestic animals. And chickens? Raccoons pull them to the side of a cage or coop and kill them. You will find very little of chickens if a raccoon or skunk get a hold of them.
Consider bringing in your dog or cat inside.
I agree, precautions are best to protect both lions and humans.
Thank you for pointing out that this may be a cub. If this is a cub that's been spotted before frequently in Alpine, then that's news to me. We had conflicting reports on the size of this animal. One witness said it was a "big" cougar on a TV news interview, but the Sheriff said a witness told them it was "fairly small." Nobody that we spoke with mentioned previous sightings, and we did ask the Sheriff if there had been other recent sightings.
There was a similar issue with the lion seen in Rancho San Diego, ie conflicting reports on size.
We only want people to be aware of the lion and take reasonable precautions, such as not having small children walk to school alone since it's likely been hanging around there more than once.It would be irresponsible not to let the public know that a lion has been seen next to a school, and other major media also reported on this. What if nobody reported it and a child got mauled?
However, I certainly don't want to see the lion(s) shot unless there's a real threat to humans (stalking or attacking someone). I agree that people can help avoid that by protecting their pets, chickens, etc. that are attracting the lion into town.
We have previously published tips on what to do if you live or hike in mountain lion terrain. Here are the links:
Find tips on what to do if you see a mountain lion in this story:
Find tips on how to cohabitate with mountain lions, such as deer-proofing your landscaping, here: