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North County mountain lion sightings stoke worries for safety

Posted at 5:21 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 20:22:13-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — There have been several sightings of mountain lions in recent weeks in the Inland North County area, stoking concerns about safety for small children and pets.

10News obtained surveillance video of one sighting from a home along the Rancho Bernardo Inn golf course. A large mountain lion is seen emerging from the bushes, walking across the driveway, then along the path leading to the side of the house, and into the family garden.

"I will be a lot more cautious now," the homeowner said. He now avoids taking out the trash late at night and has begun carrying a flashlight when leaving the house after dark.

A homeowner off Highland Valley Road in the San Pasqual Valley says he also spotted mountain lion on his property for the first time. He told 10News he has often seen bobcats and other wildlife, but that the presence of a mountain lion makes him concerned that small children and pets could be in danger if left unattended.

There was also a possible sighting in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood of Westwood, on the west side of I-15. However, surveillance camera images leave it unclear whether the animal is a mountain lion or the smaller bobcat, which are more commonly found in the area.

Wildlife experts say mountain lions generally avoid people but will occasionally attack humans if they look small and vulnerable. There have been less than two dozen attacks on humans in the last 25 years, although three were fatal.

Experts say if you see a mountain lion, do not run, as that could encourage their instinct to chase. They recommend standing your ground, making eye contact, and trying to make yourself look as big as possible.