Students at a San Jose middle school are taking their P.E. classes indoors after a mountain lion was spotted on campus Thursday.
Chaboya Middle School, located in the Evergreen neighborhood, is taking precautions by reminding students not to go outside.
The San Jose Unified School District said the mountain lion was spotted at around 8:30 a.m. by a student in the track and field area which is behind the school.
The school district ordered an immediate shelter in place for Chaboya and Mastumoto Elementary which is a couple of blocks away.
Officers with San Jose Police and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife searched the area but couldn't find the feline.
The shelter in place was lifted after police noticed residents were walking regularly in the neighborhood and assumed it would be safe for students as well.
However, both schools are still not letting students on the blacktops or fields, only the quad areas.
Yard duties on campus have been asked to carry megaphones in case they need to alert students to a mountain lion.
The school district emailed parents safety tips on what to do when encountering a mountain lion.
According to the National Park Service, one should do the following when encountering the feline:
- Stay calm. Hold your ground or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright.
- Do not approach a lion. Never approach a mountain lion especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
- Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so they don't panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
- Do not crouch down or bend over. Biologists surmise mountain lions don't recognize standing humans as prey. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks a lot like a four-legged prey animal. If you're in mountain lion habitat, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
If the mountain lion moves in your direction or acts aggressively:
- Do all you can to appear intimidating.
- Attempt to appear larger by raising your arms and opening your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
- If looking bigger doesn't scare the mountain lion off, start throwing stones, branches, or whatever you can reach in its direction without crouching or turning your back. Don't throw things at it just yet. There is no need to unnecessarily injure the mountain lion. With that said, your safety is of the utmost importance and the National Park Service won't necessarily prosecute you for harassment of wildlife if something you throw at an aggressive mountain lion does make contact. During the initial stages of a mountain lion encounter, the idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
If the mountain lion continues to move in your direction:
- Start throwing things AT it. Again, your safety is more important than the mountain lion's.
If the mountain lion attacks you:
- Fight back! A hiker in Southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools, and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.