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Mountain lion sightings near UTSA and Leon Creek Greenway

13 Jun 2018

UTSA police have stepped up their patrols after receiving reports of a mountain lion in wooded areas east of the East Campus Lot on Valero Way. This area is located west of the Leon Creek Greenway trail, one of the most popular trails of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System.

Mountain lion also known as a cougar prowls on a mound—Photo: National Park Service
Mountain lion also known as a cougar prowls on a mound—Photo: National Park Service

Authorities have recommended the following for dealing with mountain lions:

a) Ride in groups especially if children are present.

b) Avoid approaching a mountain lion. Allow it an escape route.

c) Don't try running or riding away; this may stimulate the cat's instinct to chase. The cats can obtain the velocity of 40 to 50 mph (64 km/h to 80 km/h). Can anyone ride up to 50 mph (80 km/h) on a bicycle?

d) Don't bend over. A person bending over may look like a four-legged prey animal.

e) Raise your arms to make yourself bigger. Yell at it.

f) If attacked, fight back with whatever you can get your hands on. Protect your neck and throat.

Texas state authorities have noted that mountain lions are mostly found in the Trans-Pecos region, as well as the brushlands of south Texas and portions of the Hill Country. The northern sector of San Antonio is in the Hill Country. San Antonio Parks and Recretion department and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials have cautioned that their parks have been inhabited by mountain lions, bobcats, feral hogs, and cayotes.

Mountain Lions prey on deer and small animals. Residents are advised not to feed the deer; otherwise, the deer will remain in the area and become an attraction for mountain lions as well as coyotes. Recently, coyotes have been reported to have migrated into Shady Oaks and San Pedro Hills, neighborhoods located in north central San Antonio. Creeks serve as natural "expressways" for wildlife, making it easy for them to reach conceivably every neighborhood in the city.

The Greenway trails are a prime target for mountain lions as well as other wildlife including coyotes. Urban coyotes have become more aggressive and have been known to attack people including cyclists.

As depicted in a recent Farmers Insurance television ad, a mountain lion jumped on the hood of the car of two guys who got lost on a road trip. The driver used a laser to scare off the big cat and they were delighted that it actually worked. It is already known that house cats like to chase laser dots; it's been tried on the larger cats and had been found that it works in many cases. There are no guarantees that it will always work.

The ultimate defense is the use of firearms. As a known factor, guns come with a responsibility that includes registration, licensing and training for those who have no firearm experience.

Call the UTSA police at (210) 458-4911 if you spot the animal on or near the campus or San Antonio Police at (210) 207-7420.

Only five persons in Texas since 1980 have been attacked by a mountain lion.

—SRR News Services

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