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Local park closed due to possible mountain lion occupants

SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION) According to Hollister officials, a female mountain lion and her cub may have decided to make their home in a local park.

As a result, the park has been closed until further notice. Warnings regarding mountain lions have historically been posted in and around Brigantino Park in Hollister.

The mountain lion cub duo was spotted by a Hollister resident last weekend. Paw prints were also discovered around the park. Hollister Vice Mayor Roland Resendiz said that since then, the city has been in contact with the division of fish and wildlife. "We're following the protocols in order to keep all the public safe as well as the mountain lion and her cub," said the Vice Mayor.

Keeping both parties safe is essential, as California State Parks Resource Manager Wes Gray says that mountain lions are common in the area. "There's quite a few mountain lions in the in the coastal range south of Hollister and then north of Hollister in the Diablo range," said Gray. "And, in Henry W. Coe Park, there are many mountain lions."

Despite there being a considerable number of lions in the area, it is rare to cross paths with one. Gray added that mountain lions are solitary animals that tend to come out during the nighttime hours and avoid populated places. Nevertheless, there are a few things he suggests keeping in mind in the event that you come across one. It is reccommended to make lots of noise so as to scare the animal away. "You don't want to run because then you are mimicking their predatory instincts. If you run, they might chase you," said Gray.

Fortunately, mountain lions do not prey on humans and attacks are rare. Having these animals in the area actually lends to keeping the ecosystem in balance by keeping the deer population at a manageable size.

According to Vice Mayor Resendiz, the last mountain lion sighting at Brigantino Park was in 2013. The park was temporarily closed after that instance as well.

The Vice Mayor is confident that Brigantino Park will be able to re-open this coming Saturday.

Local News / San Benito County / Video
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Courtney Aitken

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