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Mountain lions spotted on campus

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Update, Aug. 28:

There’s an estimated population of 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions in California, according to officials from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Mountain lions are top of the line predators and are very dangerous,” said Kyle Orr, the department’s public information officer. “But with that said, attacks on humans are actually very rare.”

Nonetheless, the advice the Cuesta Police distributed to the campus about what to do in case of a mountain lion encounter was “absolutely appropriate,” Orr said.

Although unlikely the big cats visited the campus during the first week of the fall semester to add classes, Orr noted that a mountain lion’s range can be in excess of 200 square miles and they are particularly drawn to areas where there are deer — their preferred dinner entre.

When asked whether the drought may have also contributed to the visit, Orr said: “We are in a historic drought in California and it is affecting wildlife. … Is the drought causing these animals to range into areas they may not necessarily frequent? Certainly. But with the drought aside, this appears to be normal mountain lion behavior.”

Original story, published Aug. 20:

By Sadie Scott
Staff Writer

Two mountain lion cubs were spotted at Cuesta College’s campus on Monday, Aug. 17 around 9 p.m.

A mountain lion was also sighted in the same area on the evening of Aug. 3, near the schools maintenance yard on the southwest border of campus, according to the San Luis Obispo campus police.

“We are asking Cuesta College students and personnel to be very vigilant and aware of their surroundings while on campus, especially in the evening,” said Cuesta College Police Department Chief Joseph Artega.

Police officials are urging students to park in the designated parking ares and avoid parking on dirt roads and on the campus perimeter.

If you encounter a mountain lion, do not turn and run. Appear as large as possible and yell loudly. The Cuesta College Police Department is asking all mountain lion sightings to be immediately reported to campus safety at 805-546-3205.