Mountain lion spotted by firefighters

Third confirmed sighting this year

First it was geese descending on school playgrounds. Now it's a mountain lion, spotted near the city's Operations Center.

Firefighters spotted the mountain lion at about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 28 at 3333 Busch Road. The mountain lion did not approach the firemen but rather was laying in a grassy area of the service yard.

Police said there have been previous sightings of mountain lions in the area, between Mohr Avenue and the open space behind the Operations Service Center but no reported attacks on people or pets.

It's the third reported sighting of a big cat in Pleasanton this year. One was spotted on the golf course at Castlewood Country Club in late December or early January and an infrared camera snapped a picture of one outside a home is in a wooded area near Arroyo de la Laguna.

There were also sightings late last year of a mysterious large black cat; rumors say the cat was an exotic pet released by its owner.

On the opposite end of town, the goose problem was solved with the help of plastic coyotes, according to Hearst Elementary School principal Michael Kuhfal.

"We were having issues with geese, the geese landing on the grass and droppings. They were interfering with our kids' ability to play," Kuhfal said.

Dogs were the first consideration, but, Kuhfal said, "We heard that the Oakland Raiders had brought in these coyotes that were plastic."

The plastic coyotes have bushy tails and are an effective deterrent, he said.

"What we have found is that they have to be rotated regularly, because geese are very smart and they will land on the field if they weren't moved," Kuhfal said. The six plastic coyotes cost the school about $50 apiece.

Meanwhile, San Ramon homeowners have had to deal with an invasion of pigs digging up yards. A trapper was hired and 12 pigs were caught and killed, with one homeowner opting to have the pig trapped on his land butchered. The trapper said he didn't catch a sow, so it's likely they'll return the next time it's dry and food is scarce. San Ramon also had a recent bobcat sighting.

"We're encroaching on their land, even though we look at it as them encroaching on our land," said Pleasanton Naturalist Eric Nicholas.

He said awareness is the key to getting along.

"We see people on TV and in the movies constantly being chased by animals. That is not the norm," Nicholas said. "Education will solve most of our problems when it comes to wildlife."

The Pleasanton Police Department has a number of tips regarding mountain lions:

* Avoid hiking or jogging alone in rural areas, especially in the early morning, evening or night.

* Never approach a mountain lion. If confronted by one, do not run; face it, stand upright, wave your arms, and make noise to scare it off.

* Do not feed deer. It's illegal in California and doing so attracts mountain lions.

* Avoid landscaping with plants deer like to eat.

* Trim brush to reduce hiding places for mountain lions, and install motion-sensitive lighting around the house.

* Don't allow pets outside during times when mountain lions are most active, and bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossum, and other potential mountain lion prey.


Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm

"We're encroaching on their land, even though we look at it as them encroaching on our land," said Pleasanton Naturalist Eric Nicholas.

Except the pigs...they are encroaching on us...they are not native to North America, early explorers brought them here to multiply for future voyage food shopping sprees.

Like this comment
Posted by Dell
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2013 at 5:58 am

Dave you are correct when you say pigs are not native to Northern America. However to say they are encroaching on our land rather than the other way around is a stretch of the imagination to say the least. The pig was first introduced to Northern America in 1539. I would say it has earned the right to call itself a native. Either way it's a wild animal and as we build more and more outside of city limits we have to expect interactions with all wild animals.

Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

I agree that the more we expand our neighborhoods the more we need to understand the nature we disrupt or displace. But we also need to understand the effects of introducing animals and altering nature, either by accident (domestic pigs gone wild) or by design as is the case of our local Turkeys.
Our over abundance of Turkeys is now feeding an expanding population of predators such as Coyotes and now possibly Mountain Lions. Nature is only trying to balance things out that we've unbalanced, unfortunately it's quite predictable what the result of this will be. The predators in close proximity to the neighborhoods get "used" to being around humans, and the expected interactions cause dangerous situations sometimes leading to injury...or worse...(to either Human or Wild animal, or both)
Yes, our population needs to be educated on safely interacting with our wild friends. And unless we control the predators food source from getting too large, the predator population will get out of hand as well. This includes Turkeys as well as Deer.

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