SONORA — Police urged residents to be cautious, especially on Halloween, after a mountain lion was spotted behind a senior center this morning near Greenley Road.
Sonora police had not received any reports of injuries, attacks or the mountain lion acting in an aggressive nature, said Chief Mark Stinson.
About 8 a.m., Sonora police received a call from someone at the Tuolumne County Seniors Center at 540 Greenley Road, about a mile north of Highway 108.
Stinson said the caller reported seeing a mountain lion about 100 yards behind the center. Police notified officials at Sonora Elementary School, which is just south of the center.
He said school officials held recess indoors, but the school day continued as normally scheduled.
Officers responded to the area, and did not find the reported mountain lion. Stinson said state Department of Fish and Game officials also responded to the area, but did not find any paw prints to track the lion.
Nevertheless, police urged residents to be careful of their surroundings. Stinson also wanted to make them aware mountain lion sightings in the Sonora area are not out of the ordinary.
“This is a pretty common occurrence this time of the year,” Stinson said. “(The lion) will normally hang out for about two weeks and then move on.”
Authorities believe this is the same lion who appears in the area each year. Mountain lions often patrol a 50 square-mile area or larger.
Stinson said mountain lions travel great distances and usually make their way through the Sonora area from late September through mid-October.
“It’s running a little behind schedule this year,” Stinson said. “It’s usually gone by Halloween.”
With that in mind, he said it’s important for parents to keep a close eye on their children when out trick-or-treating. Small children should not be left unattended.
Small pets should be brought indoors at night, as they sometimes fall victim to lions. Police, however, had not received any reports of the lion killing any animals.
Stinson said you should never approach a mountain lion, they normally don’t like confrontation. He also said always give the lion plenty of space, but never run away, since it stimulates the lion’s natural instinct to chase and attack.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.