REDLANDS, Calif. - Over the weekend, a mountain lion was spotted in a residential area near downtown Redlands.
Where it happened
The Redlands Police Department responded to reports of a big cat in a tree in the 400 block of East Fern Avenue on Sunday morning.
Dayna Springfield, a resident at the Fernwood Condos, said it all started around 9:30 am when she walked out to her parking garage and saw Redlands Police eyeing a tree branch that overhangs her complex.
“My neighbor on the other side of our block wall called 911 after he went out to see what his dogs were going bonkers about,” said Springfield.
After capturing a video of the mountain lion up in the tree, Springfield said she went back inside to make signs to warn her neighbors.
“A lot of us have dogs that we’re always out walking, so I was worried about them.”
After about an hour, the sound of a power tool startled the mountain lion, Springfield recalled. The animal then jumped down and wandered off through the parking area of Fern Lodge.
“He’s just so magically. I’ve been in Redlands 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Springfield shared with Community Forward the video she took to remember that morning.
Status of mountain lion
According to the Redlands Police Department, the Redlands Police Patrol and Animal Services are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to resolve the issue. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has jurisdiction over the sightings. The department has not yet responded to requests by Community Forward for an update.
Earlier mountain lion sighting
Redlands Police were notified about a home surveillance video that showed what appeared to be a mountain lion near the 600 block of E Palm Ave on Tuesday, August 8.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, there has been an uptick in reports and sightings of mountain lions, likely due to the increased presence of home security cameras, social media, and personal trail cameras.
The Redlands Conservancy reported a mountain lion on the trails in San Timoteo Canyon in October 2022.
What to know about mountain lions
- Mountain lions prefer to roam from dusk to dawn and generally avoid any human interaction. According to wildlife experts, they have likely spotted you before you see them.
- Mountain lions can roam an area of about 200 square miles. "Mountain lions here have pretty wide regions, but their habitat is splintered by urbanization," Ken Paglia, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told SFGATE in October 2022. "But often it's going from one patch of suitable habitat to another patch of suitable habitat — that's why we now see cross through neighborhoods and the urban edge of communities."
- Attacks from mountain lions are extremely rare. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in the last 133 years, there have been less than 50 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in California. Of those attacks, only six have been fatal. Usually, the person was alone when the attack occurred.
- Historically, humans have been the aggressors. California paid bounties on more than 12,000 mountain lions in California from 1907 - 1963, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Efforts have been in place since 1990 to restore the population. Today mountain lions are a 'specially protected' species with an estimated population of around 4,000-6,000, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation.
What to do if you encounter a mountain lion
Here are some tips from the US Forest Service if you see a mountain lion in your neighborhood or on a trail.
- Never approach a mountain lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens.
- Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Always give them a way to escape.
- Do not run. Remain calm. Hold your ground or back away slowly.
- Continue facing the mountain lion, and maintain eye contact.
- Do all you can to appear larger - stand upright, raise your arms, raise your walking stick, and/or open your jacket.
- If you have small children or pets with you, try to pick them up without turning away or bending over.
- Never bend over or crouch down in front of the animal.
How to report
If you see a mountain lion, you can file a Wildlife Incident Report here with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can also call 911 and the Redlands Police will forward the report to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.