Long ago I established that I am an unrepentant city girl. I’ve gone hiking in the hills before – such mountain ranges as Santa Monica, San Gabriel and Santa Susana have felt my feet trod upon them. I’ve come across a rattlesnake in the hills (only the one time, but yeah, scary!). But my continued wonder at the deer which call JPL home prove that I’m a definite city girl.
So imagine my surprise when JPL issued a mountain lion warning for the lab.
Yeah. I know.
Most of us never think about anything wilder than pigeons and squirrels in the proximity of our work places. Maybe the occasional possum.
But to have to keep a mountain lion watch whilst crossing the lab? That’s pretty damned serious. At least to my little frivolous suburban mind.
Accompanying the warning are suggestions of what to do when faced with a mountain lion:
About half of California is prime mountain lion country. JPL is part of this lion country. These animals have always lived here, preying on deer and other wildlife,
while playing an important role in the ecosystem. Mountain lions have been seen in the past on the Laboratory site and may still be present.
*The following suggestions are based on studies of mountain lion behavior and analyses of attacks by mountain lions:
– Do not hike alone.
– Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
– Do not run from a lion.
– Do not crouch down or bend over.
– Do all you can to appear larger.
– Fight back if attacked. Use rocks, sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools or finally bare hands. Try to remain standing and face the attacking animal since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck.
I don’t know about y’all, but the chances of me not running when faced with a mountain lion are incredibly miniscule.
Well, I’m rarely here past 6pm at night and usually other people are about. Plus I don’t have far to travel to get to the bus stop (maybe about three minutes walk time) and the stop is on JPL premises, with lots of vehicles moving about, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be safe.
Still, it’s something that settles in my wee city brain.
Please don’t let me become a mountain lion’s supper…