A female mountain lion and her cubs were sighted on the UC Berkeley campus last Thursday.
The mountain lion and her cubs have been sighted multiple times near the Switching Station #6 construction site just west of Stern Hall in recent weeks, according to a UCPD Safety Alert.
“Our clerks do rounds at 11 p.m. every night, so we are watching out for (mountain lions) more than before,” said Saya Wai, a senior clerk for Unit 4 Residence Hall, which includes Foothill, Stern and Bowles Halls.
Mountain lions were sighted several times last year in the hills above campus, according to the alert, and other indications of their presence included the discovery of animal carcasses.
“You know, the mountain lions were (in Berkeley) first, so we posted warnings in all of our residence halls for our summer guests,” said Marty Takimoto, director of marketing communications for campus Residential and Student Services Programs. “Our priority is to make sure that people are as aware as possible.”
However, the chances of an attack actually occurring are fairly slim, according to Conrad Jones, senior environmental scientist at the California Department of Fish and Game.
“It’s pretty low likelihood that anybody would be attacked by a mountain lion,” Jones said. “And the fact of the matter is they are, they have been, and they will continue to be in amongst those of us who live in semi-urban, semi-rural types of areas.”
Between 80 and 90 percent of reported mountain lion sightings turn out to be false, according to Zara McDonald, founder and executive director of the Felidae Conservation Fund, which specializes in wildcat research and conservation.
“If it becomes a public safety issue and people have been threatened by things like stalking behavior, then we or any law enforcement agency could declare them a public safety issue,” Jones said. “There is no relocation that goes on with a public safety (hazard) animal; you don’t relocate something with that behavior.”
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