With Cameras Everywhere, Reports Of Mountain Lions Increase

Aug 26, 2019

There have been several reports of mountain lions in Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach this summer. But according to wildlife biologists, that doesn't mean there are more mountain lions on the Peninsula. It may just mean technology has made it easier to see them.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is filled with all sorts of taxidermy from small birds to large predators. Juan Govea stops at a glass case with a large cat laying peacefully on a rock. Govea is Director of Community Engagement at the museum.

"You can see we have this beautiful juvenile female mountain lion that the museum acquired about 40 years ago," says Govea. 

It's about the size of a large dog. It was shot by a rancher in South County after his sheep were attacked.

We normally think of mountain lions in rural areas, but this summer, news reports have shown video of large cats roaming residental patios and backyards.

Jeff Cann of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says it's the deer that brings them into our cities.

"Anybody who's been in Pacific Grove knows there's a bunch of deer there. So, if you have deer, you likely have mountain lions," Cann says.

Deer are what mountain lions' eat.

"They are active in twilight and nighttime and they see us a lot more than we see them. They don't want much to do with humans," says Cann. 

Cann says the mountain lions have always been there, but sightings are up because more people have security cameras.

"There's a proliferation of technology now that, you know, it's motion detected. People are having (the cats) show up on their cameras on their houses," says Cann.

Cann adds that you can keep deer, and therefore mountain lions, out of your yard by landscaping with plants that deer don't eat.

Examples of these plants, as well as what to do if confronted by a mountain lion, are on the California Fish and Wildlife webpage.