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Another mountain lion sighting in Monterey County, this time at a popular recreational area

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) There’s been another mountain lion sighting in Monterey County, this time at Fort Ord National Monument. Mountain Lions are not uncommon visitors to the area.

“I’ve spotted some before when I’m out here and you know you just kind of stay away from them. I’ve seen them from a distance not up close,” said hiker, David Garcia.

But earlier this week one of those big cats left its mark after it snuck its way into a goat enclosure for dinner.  

“I’ve been running goat projects for the county for approximately five years. I've never had a mountain lion attack or other predatory animal attacks on a goat. I have had a goat stolen by humans, but never a predatory animal.” Bryan Flores, Chief of Parks for the County of Monterey. 

The mountain lion killed two goats, which are part of the wildfire fuel reduction program, in an open space area to the north of Watkins Gate Road in between East Garrison and CSUMB. It's not the first time the goats have been attacked. Years ago, the herder had an occurrence in Carmel and Monterey.

"Unfortunately, during that time it wasn't a mountain lion coming in for a meal. Then, it kind of went into a frenzy mode and took out about 20 goats in one night, mentioned Flores"

The warm, dry weather pattern we've been experiencing could have something to do with the mountain lion’s visit. 

“The drought doesn't just impact farmers and people with watering their lawns. It does impact wildlife and especially when their water sources dry up and they go in the search for water as well, they're going in search for food at the same time,” continued Flores.

For regular Fort Ord guests, many were not surprised by the news of the sighting but were still unease about the recent event. "My brother did tell me that there could be potential mountain lions around here. It does scare me, I bring my mace and I come with a friend, said hiker, Rita Nunez.

On the other hand, it didn’t stop people from enjoying the many miles of trails. “It doesn’t scare me so much, I just think of the statistics and you don’t hear about too many attacks on people so I try to ignore it,” mentioned mountain biker, Mark Kirker.

Signage will be installed letting bikers and hikers know of the sighting. Monterey County also placed a message on their social media page. When you decide to hit the trails, don’t let your children or pets get too far ahead, keep them close by. 

If you happen to have a close encounter with a mountain lion, Bryan Flores' advises, to keep eye contact with the animal, appear large, make loud noises, and back away slowly. Most importantly maintain that eye contact.

For now, the cat will be left alone. "Typically Fish and Wildlife and or law enforcement do not go after the cat unless it becomes more of a nuisance animal where it's returning night after night," said Flores.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.

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