New mountain lion sighting, this time in Bernal Heights

Photo by Zach Key on Unsplash
By Jay Barmann - Published on May 18, 2021.

Another mountain lion has made it into the urban wilds of San Francisco, and it was spotted in Bernal Heights on Tuesday morning.

Residents of the neighborhood — especially those with small children and pets — are on high alert following Tuesday's sighting. The cougar was seen in Bernal Heights Park at 3 a.m., according to Deb Campbell, a spokesperson for San Francisco Animal Care and Control. The Chronicle first reported on the sighting, which is also getting play on Twitter and on NBC Bay Area. Anyone who spots the creature again is asked to call Animal Care and Control at 415-554-9400 immediately.

If you see the animal in the wild, you are instructed to look as big as possible, maintain eye contact, and pick up any children or pets off the ground. Don't just turn and run.

The mountain lion, who likely wandered up from the Peninsula and could have wandered out of the city limits again, is the second to be seen in the city in the past year. Another mountain lion, a juvenile male, was seen last June wandering in Russian Hill and near the Embarcadero. Experts surmised that this was likely a young male who was seeking territory for himself — which would lead him to wander further from where he was most comfortable. These males are often found killed by cars on the sides of roads because they've wandered too far into civilization — and that is exactly what happened with last year's cougar, who was released back on the Peninsula after being captured by Animal Care in San Francisco. He was found just a few weeks later by the side of Highway 1 in Pacifica.

Campbell tells the Chronicle that mountain lion sightings in SF are “more common than you would think," and they're often spotted moving quickly across the frame of security cameras. They are typically just checking things out and turning around to go back to their usual stalking grounds, which are likely in wooded areas south of the city.


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