Increased Mountain Lion Activity Forces New Protocols in Northern California County

El Dorado County has experienced a significant increase in mountain lion sightings, prompting local law enforcement to establish an official mountain lion sighting and reporting protocol.

In March, the community of Georgetown was thrust into the spotlight after a mountain lion killed a man and severely injured his brother, marking the first fatal human-mountain lion encounter in California in 20 years.

Following this tragic incident, sightings continued to be reported by residents, leading the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office to develop a formal protocol. The sheriff’s office collaborated with The Outdoor View and the County Agricultural Department to create these guidelines.

The new protocols classify sightings into two categories. “Simple sightings,” where a mountain lion is seen but poses no immediate threat, can be reported to the El Dorado County Mountain Lion Sightings Facebook page. Since early May, numerous videos, photos, and descriptions of sightings and attack aftermaths have been posted to the page, allowing residents to stay informed and alert.

For incidents involving injured or dead livestock or pets where the mountain lion has left the area, residents are instructed to call the El Dorado County Agricultural Department at 530-621-520. In cases of immediate risk or attack on people, pets, or livestock, residents should call 911 directly.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, mountain lions inhabit most areas of California, excluding the Sacramento and Central valleys, the high Sierra and deserts of Southern California, and regions with higher human population density. The Mountain Lion Foundation estimates that California provides approximately 185,000 square kilometers of habitat for mountain lions, with nearly two lions per 100 square kilometers.

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