Numerous reports have surfaced recently about a mountain lion inside Turlock’s urban area.
The most recent report is the most startling. Pam Gemperle, of Gemperle Farms, who lives near the intersection of Tuolumne Road and Quincy Road, says the mountain lion was in her backyard Thursday night.
“Yes, the mountain lion was in our backyard last night,” she said. “At about 2 a.m. my son, who is 22, heard our cat screaming so he ran to the back door and he saw the mountain lion chasing the cat just a few feet away, right behind the back door. Thankfully there was a shovel by the door and he grabbed it and chased it waving it back and forth while screaming and the mountain lion streaked off. I know of several neighbors who have seen tracks in their yards.”
On Sunday, Aug. 23, again at about 2 a.m., her son’s girlfriend also saw the mountain lion near a cornfield at Waring Road and Tuolumne Road.
Earlier that night at 8:32 p.m. Rachel Ladd posted on the Turlock Neighborhood Watch Facebook page, “Just a heads up; got a neighborhood alert about a mountain lion being seen twice way out East Ave by Sante Fe. Be careful if biking out that way.”
Dennis Doo, a Turlock realtor, says he has also heard reports of a mountain lion near Santa Fe Drive and Pepper Street, as well as near Hawkeye Avenue and Verduga Road, incredibly close to heavily populated areas.
“The severe lack of water effects all wildlife. The mountain lion is probably thirsty and hungry,” said Doo.
This isn’t the first time in recent years that a mountain lion has been spotted in Turlock. In July of 2012 an 80-pound mountain lion was found in a tree in the backyard of a residence in the 5000 block of Linwood Avenue. Stanislaus County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed the mountain lion when it began to climb down from the tree toward them.
California Department of Fish and Game could not be reached to confirm the sightings, however the website provides information about mountain lions. The Turlock Police Departments has received one report of a mountain lion sighting, but officers were unable to locate the animal.
The CDFW advises residents not to run away from a mountain lion, as “Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal.”
The National Park Service recommends to “shout in a low voice and wave your arms” and “maintain eye contact and do not crouch down. Throw sticks or rocks and if an attack occurs, fight back.”
According to the CDFW’s Public Safety Wildlife Guidelines, an animal is deemed to be a threat to public safety if there is, “a likelihood of human injury based on the totality of the circumstances.” Circumstance considered here includes the mountain lion’s behavior, and its proximity to schools, playgrounds, and other public gathering places.
The CDFW or local law enforcement will determine where an animal is or is not a public safety threat. If the animal is deemed to be a public safety threat, the CDFW or law enforcement on scene will secure the area, then locate and kill the dangerous animal. The CDFW does not relocate mountain lions that are considered a threat to public safety.
Anyone who sees a mountain lion can contact the Turlock Police Department at 209-668-5550.