Mountain Lion Seen near California School as Police Warn Locals about Leaving Their Homes

A mountain lion was spotted near a high school in California, prompting a warning from police.

Authorities in the Bay Area of San Francisco warned residents to be careful when leaving their homes yesterday (January 10) after a reported mountain lion sighting in Daly City.

In a statement posted to Twitter and Facebook, Daly City Police said their officers had been joined by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday afternoon responding to the sighting, which took place in the area of Westmoor Avenue and Baldwin Avenue.

"Mountain Lion Sighting. Daly City Police Officers and Department of Fish and Wildlife are on scene in the area of Westmoor Avenue and Baldwin Avenue. We do not have photos. Use caution leaving your house.

"We will keep you updated as we receive more information," a spokesperson for the city police said.

In a later update posted Monday evening, the police force said that the Department of Fish and Wildlife were "still monitoring the situation, and we are providing any support that is needed."

SFGate.com reported that the location of the mountain lion sighting was in the vicinity of the Westmoor High School and Westmoor Park.

Josh Rosenau, a conservation advocate with the Mountain Lion Foundation told Newsweek direct danger to humans from mountain lions remained "extremely rare."

"Any sort of danger to people remains incredibly rare. Like, comparable to the odds of your being struck by lightning on your birthday," he said "A lot of folk don't realize how fearful mountain lions are of people. Often, people think that if they see a mountain lion, it must mean that they are in danger. But what we see in those events, and what we have to conclude by looking at the number of mountain lions that exist even in heavily populated areas, is that mountain lions want to avoid people and don't see us as prey.

"Even in some scary-looking filmed encounters, you can see that the lion is usually acting to defend a cub, and while their display might look tough, they flee once a person starts yelling or acting tough."

Other mountain lion sightings have been reported in the region recently. In Pacifica, just south of Daly City, a mountain lion was spotted eating a pet chicken at a family home on December 26. The animal reportedly feasted on a chicken inside the family's chicken coup before leaving the scene.

Pacifica Police Department, which responded to that incident with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, also reported mountain lion sightings in the city on January 1.

Mountain lion sightings in California
Stock image of a mountain lion. A mountain lion was seen close to a school in the Bay Area (Daly City), prompting a response and warnings from authorities. Francis Apesteguy/Getty Images

Mountain lions have also been documented targeting domestic animals elsewhere in California in recent months. On December 22 in Santa Barbara, as reported in Noowzhawk, a mountain lion managed to enter a residential home and attack a pet dog.

The dog was only saved after the homeowners responded with bear spray and helped the animal escape by opening doors onto their porch area.

Authorities and mountain lion specialists offer a range of safety measures residents can take to help protect themselves against any potential dangers posed by mountain lions.

Advice published by the Mountain Lion Foundation, for example, suggests wearing bright and contrasting clothing while hiking on trails, keeping pets secure on a leash and avoiding approaching any wild animals.

San Diego Parks and Recreation estimate there are between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions in the state of California at present.

This article has been updated to include quotes from Josh Rosenau.