Daly City police reported Tuesday morning a possible mountain lion in the backyard of a home, but during a search by wildlife officials, the large cat apparently managed to slip away.
The Police Department reported shortly after 7 a.m. that the animal was in the yard of a home in the 4100 block of Callan Boulevard.
Officials from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife responded and cleared the scene after searching the area, police said.
"The mountain lion was just sitting there," said neighbor Mike Ferrer, "I don't know how long."
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The cougar apparently slipped away from the yard, police said, adding that people in the area should still be on alert.
"He's probably somewhere around here," Ferrer said. "It's not really safe yet, and I'm too scared to go in the backyard now."
There have been a number of mountain lion sightings between San Francisco and San Mateo counties this year, but Fish and Wildlife Department officials said its nothing out of the ordinary.
"When I talk to our scientists, they say that the volumes of calls is about the same," said Ken Paglia with the Fish and Wildlife Department.
Here are some tips from the National Parks Service for people who encounter mountain lions:
- 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.