A confirmation has been issued by the National Parks Service following the sighting of a mountain lion by two hikers last week in Sequoia National Park.
The lion was spotted by two hikers from San Luis Obispo County, who were on the first day of an 11-day backpacking trip on the High Sierra Trail, east of Crescent Meadow to Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Forest.
The service reported that there was no interaction between the hikers and the animal and that the hikers behaved properly by not running when they spotted the big cat.
Daniel Gammons, who is a wildlife biologist for the Parks Service, revealed that they didn’t panic and run even after they were surprised by seeing the mountain lion perched above them.
It’s evident that the most important message to get out to visitors is that people should not act like prey if they encounter a mountain lion.
Brian McKinney, who is a project manager for a software company who lives in Atascadero, revealed that the backpackers described the mountain lion as bigger than a Great Dane and rippled with muscles.
Sam Vonderheide, a math teacher at Arroyo Grande High School, who also survived the encounter and completed their hike to the top of the mountain. They returned home Thursday with a harrowing story and video proof.
The incident took place at around 6:30 p.m. July 23 when Vonderheide first saw the cat ahead on the trail, about a mile west of the junction with Alta Trail. McKinney didn’t believe him, but he started shooting video just in case.
A long-tailed lion trotting around a corner and up a rock is captured, where it stared down the camera’s lens at the men. But it’s what happened after the camera was put away that added to the fear of the encounter.
Below are some tips if you do encounter one, according to the National Park Service:
▪ Do not approach a mountain lion; Give them a path to escape.
▪ Do not run from a mountain lion as it may stimulate the cat’s instinct to chase.
▪ Do not crouch or bend over, giving the appearance of a four-legged prey animal.
▪ Appear larger than you are. Open your jacket, waive your arms, use a loud voice.
▪ Fight back if attacked using rocks, sticks, tools, or even bare hands. Try to remain standing.