The photo shows a mountain lion walking down a hill.Jan. 19, 2023 — A mountain lion that lives in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains has been spotted three times this week in the following locations on and around campus:

  • Housing – Santa Cruz Village
  • Housing – near Anacapa Village Student Housing (SH) Parking Lot
  • North Quad
  • Foothills toward University Glen

More than half of California is mountain lion habitat and mountain lions generally exist wherever deer are found. They are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans. Mountain lions primarily eat deer, but, if allowed, they will prey on vulnerable pets and livestock.

The following safety information is taken from wildlife managers and scientists who study mountain lion behavior. Although no strategy is guaranteed to be successful in every situation, these tips will help keep you safe:

  • Do not hike, bike or jog alone. Stay alert on trails.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active – dawn, dusk and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Off-leash dogs on trails are at increased risk of becoming prey for a mountain lion.
  • Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
  • DO NOT RUN. Running may trigger chase, catch and kill response. Stay calm. Do not turn your back. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. Pick up small children.
  • Do not crouch or bend over. Squatting puts you in a vulnerable position of appearing much like four-legged prey.
  • Be vocal, but speak calmly and do not use high-pitched tones or screams. 
  • If a lion attacks, fight back. Many potential victims have fought back successfully with rocks, sticks, garden tools and even an ink pen or bare hands. Try to stay on your feet. If knocked down, try to protect your head and neck. If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.
  • Teach others how to behave during an encounter.
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