News & Events

Date and Time of Release: 19 July 2010

Date and Time of Incident: Past 24 Hours

Subject: Mountain Lion Sightings
The Sonora Police Department has been advised of two different sightings of a mountain lion over the past 24 hours. The sightings have been on Summit Ave. and Morningstar Drive. The lion has been described as a large lion, approx. 120-140 pounds. Last year about this same time, we had similar sightings, which is probably the same animal.

Mountain lions are frequently observed in the Sonora area. The animals travel great distances and are normally only in the area for a few weeks before moving on to a different area. Mountain lions often patrol a 50 square mile area or larger.

The Sonora Police Department would like to remind everyone that they should not leave small children unattended. You should also bring small pets in at night, as they sometimes fall victim to lions. Lions sometimes become aggressive towards humans, but there have been no reports of this particular animal showing signs of aggression, nor has the Police Department received any reports of it killings any animals within the City limits.

You should never approach a mountain lion. Always give it plenty of space. They normally don’t like confrontation. Never run away from the lion, as running stimulates a mountain lions natural instinct to chase and attack.

Be sure to always make contact with a lion standing up and standing as tall as possible. By making yourself look larger, it intimidates the lion and often makes them run and leave. Yell, throw rocks, and make sure you react so that the lion knows that you are the one in control, not them. If there are children present pick them up immediately and never turn your back on the lion or squat.

If you are attacked, fight back. Never succumb or roll into a ball. Hit the lion as hard as you can, especially the head. Try to claw at the eyes. If you can retrieve a stick or large rock, use it as a weapon. Lions will normally strike the back of the head or especially the neck, so be vigilant to protect these areas.

Remember, mountain lions are unpredictable, but they still usually avoid confrontations. Attacks are on the upswing, but still rare. The chances that you will even have an encounter with a lion in the City are rare, but be prepared and know what to do if the situation arises. It is always better to be safe and prepared, than sorry.

If you should see the lion, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Department of Fish and Game right away.