Plenty of folks who live on Vashon-Maury Island have seen their share of deer and coyotes nearby, and there’s even a bear sighting or two every now and again. But a mountain lion? On Vashon?
There are multiple reports of one or more mountain lions roaming Vashon-Maury Island recently, including a close encounter with a big cat earlier this week at our Maury Island Marine Park.
Human-mountain lion encounters are extremely rare, but it’s important to know how to behave if you find yourself in close proximity to a big cat. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been notified of the sightings and offers these suggestions when encountering a mountain lion:
– Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. Don’t run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
– Don’t approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill.
– Try to appear larger than the cougar. Don’t crouch down or try to hide. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back.
– If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
– If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation with a cougar, bear or other dangerous wildlife, dial 9-1-1. In a non-emergency situation, contact the nearest regional Department of Fish and Wildlife office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In King County, the number to call is 425-775-1311.
Stay safe out there!