By now, most anyone with access to a phone or computer has seen the viral footage of a runner being “stalked” by a mountain lion in Utah. And now the Mountain Lion Foundation wants to set the record straight – pointing out that the mountain lion was not stalking the man, she was ensuring that her cubs were safe from harm.
The Foundation issued a release following the viral footage shot by 26-year-old Kyle Burgess, which shows a six-minute encounter with the big cat who follows him as he tries to retreat. The release targets media outlets, stating:
“But individuals and the media are getting a lot of things wrong, especially with social media posts and news headlines that claim the lion stalked the man. This was not predatory or stalking behavior.”
Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation adds:
“The behavior was meant to chase him away, which it did very well. The mother lion was reacting to a perceived threat to her young.”
The Foundation wants to dispel the notion that mountain lions are a threat to humans. Chase commented on the mountain lion who followed Burgess:
“The lion wasn’t looking for a conflict and she left the area as soon as she was able.”
How can you avoid a conflict with wildlife? The Mountain Lion Foundation recommends:
Go in pairs or small groups.
Talk or make some noise as you hike or run, which gives wildlife a chance to move away from the trail and avoid encounters.
Never approach baby animals in the wild.
Carry a portable air horn or other noise-maker.
If you encounter a mountain lion, do not try to run. Instead:
Back away slowly
Maintain eye contact and talk in a loud, firm tone
Wave your arms, open your coat, or make other motions to make yourself appear larger
Avoid crouching or leaning over; stand tall
If the animal is aggressive, throw your backpack, water bottle, whatever you have
If attacked, fight back.
If you haven’t seen it already, here is the video of Burgess’ frightening encounter:
Have you ever encountered a wild animal on a run or hike? How did you react?
Follow the National Animal News Facebook page for more news, updates and petitions.
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