On a hiking trail in Southern California, there was a tense encounter between two hikers and a mountain lion. Mark Girardeau, a photographer who monitors the trail cameras in the wilderness of Southern California, was hiking in the area with his companion, Rachel de Vlugt. In an Instagram post, Mr Girardeau wrote that their encounter with the mountain lion lasted two minutes before the cat backed down. He went on to add that the duo was hiking after checking trail cams and “all of a sudden saw something brown running up the hill towards us”.
By the time they stopped, “this cat was already 5-10 feet from us as it stopped and stared at us”
Mr Girardeau then began filming. The “encounter lasted 2 minutes before the cat backed down”. During this span, the hikers stood their ground and Mr Girardeau shouted “get back” at the lion several times.
He explained his defence mechanism in his post. “Mountain lions do not seek humans out to feed on and this is why it’s good to hold your ground because any prey item for mountain lions runs away. Attacks on humans are extremely rare and you’re more likely to win the lotto or get struck by lightning.”
Mr Girardeau also wrote that this mountain lion was a female, known as Uno, and went on to add that two things could have caused this — “either she has a kill nearby and she was defending it or she ran up at us not realising we were humans since she couldn’t completely see us from down below”.
The best way to handle the situation, according to Mr Girardeau, is by “announcing yourself (to the mountain lion) and assert dominance over the situation”.
A user commented, “Absolutely insane! Glad you’re both all good.”
Another user recommended, “The rangers carry a shovel. They told me they hit the rocks with it if they spot a lion. The noise scares them. Wonder if this really works?”
A couple of users commented on the mountain lion’s appearance. While one wrote, “What a beautiful mountain lion”, another said, “Wow, she is gorgeous though.”
According to USA Today, the hikers were traversing in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon. At around 5 pm, the two had just checked a few cameras when Mr Girardeau saw the mountain lion run up a hill and watch them from a few feet away.
Before this encounter, Mr Girardeau had seen only two mountain lions, both from a much greater distance, he told NBCLA. The recent encounter was the closest of all the previous ones.
According to NBCLA, more than half of California is a habitat for mountain lions as this region has a good population of deer, a primary food source.