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Thread: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

  1. #21

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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Mountain Lion aka Cougar encounters Coastside are not rare. Folks that keep goats and similar have lost farm animals to local mountain lions moderately often. Cougars tend to pick off the weak, old and less able. They are an integral part of the Coastside eco system. Keep in mind human beings are visiting their home turf and are subject to all the other critters that live in that turf.

    http://www.pescaderocouncil.org/mountain-lion-map



    Bernice

  2. #22
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Goats. Oh my! Mtn lions never bothered cattle or sheep whatsoever, and my place was right across the road from a huge sheepherder's plot, back when they were still herded up to the high country every summer. But the far more animated twitchy personality of goats can drive these big cats wild, and coyotes too. Many a coyote has learned the hard way not to mess with a billy goat. I've seen it happen and it's pretty amusing. But those are easy targets for a cougar. That crippled cat I mentioned earlier had been hit by a jeep a couple years before - ironically the jeep of a professional lion hunter! - a hunter whose hounds were far better at scaring cats away than catching them. But that crippled cat, now missing one front leg, managed to jump a goat enclosure fence and went into a frenzy, killing every one of them. So me and a pal were hired to find it. Now it might seem insane, but how we did that is to become potential prey ourselves. Since it couldn't catch deer and was desperate, it would stalk us instead, but have a very hard time actually keeping up with us. I got it to stalk me about six miles through the brush, then my friend took a turn, who lived in the area. It followed his right onto his front porch, where he shot it with a 30-30. And that is the only belligerent lion I've ever encountered in my life. But a co-worker of mine who had a second home in the hills accidentally got between a cougar and his own goats. It charged and he had to shoot it. And those Sierra cats can be twice the size of our coastal ones,
    just like mtn coyotes are distinctly bigger than valley and coastal ones. It must have been fun back near the close of the ice age for hunters out amidst a variety of big cats and bears larger than any alive today, when mtn lions and even sabertooth cats were relatively small. There was also an American cheetah, the closest relative of the puma, needing great speed to catch pronghorn antelope, it seems.

  3. #23

    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    But's it's always amazed me how little attention the Indians paid to mtn lions, which were more like ghosts that momentarily appeared and then disappeared.
    Very interesting, back here in the East when mountain lions were still thick on the ground, they factored into the Native culture in a couple of ways. For the Southeastern tribes, it was SOP to swaddle male infants in panther skin--"on account of the communicative principle" as the famous Indian trader and author, James Adair, puts it. I.e., since the panther has physical and sensory capabilities "beyond any of his fellow animals in the American woods," such clothing "they reckon such a bed is the first rudiments of war."

    The other famous incarnation of the mountain lion in their culture is as the piasa--the "Underwater Panther" of Mississippian iconography; i.e. a literally "monstrous" amalgam of feline, serpent, and bird which is often understood to represent the levels of existence (Underworld/This World/the Upper World) traversed by heroes and shamans.

  4. #24
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Thanks for sharing that. Eastern, SW, and NW tribes were very different than our inland California situation, which was nearly apolitical, with almost every little village its own entity, and the biggest variety of disparate language families in the entire W Hemiphere all packed into the same resource-rich space. There were no higher political affiliations or big wars, but endless petty feuds, sometimes genocidal on small scale. No fancy religion, but just some small village shaman hucksterism with minor medical duties, real as well as feigned, plus a nominal chief, often of only a dozen people or so, but potentially of much greater numbers where food was especially abundant. Food was generally so easy to acquire that agriculture was unnecessary. Then to the east of the great rain shadow of the Sierras, the Nevada Paiutes mostly lived in abject poverty, with the Great Basin separating things from the more elaborate cultures of the Southwest. Here the local mythologies were simple, predictable, and colorful; nothing more sinister than the Coyote Trickster. Only down around what is now the Mexican border where there was Meso-American influence did religions take on complexity. I not only studied a lot of this, but grew up with Calif. Indians. It might be that Mississippian culture was itself related to Meso-American themes. But that's not something I know much about. My main interest was actually in ice age Americans, who I am convinced were a lot more sophisticated than the usual chatter gives them credit for; otherwise they wouldn't have spread over the entire W. Hemisphere so efficiently so long ago.

  5. #25

    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    It might be that Mississippian culture was itself related to Meso-American themes.
    Ha, you wouldn't be the first to suppose a few Nahuatl-speaking Matteo Ricci's with a handful of magic beans and a flair for the dramatic. Hard to prove, though.

  6. #26
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Well, I had my own beans to fry, so to speak, so never got involved hypothesizing about relatively advanced American cultures. I was a lot more interested in things many thousands of years before. But I did find it amusing just how full of beans people like Thor Heyerdahl and Gavin Menzies could be attributing everything to old world civilizations. But as far as critters go, people seem to forget that neither mtn lions nor black bears were apex predators around here, so still have an inbuilt shyness to them. That niche belonged to grizzlies and secondarily to wolf packs until about 150 yrs ago.

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    It's all over now. They caught the suspect cat and it was a DNA match, so they put it down; a very small one, around 60 lb. The little girl is doing fine.

  8. #28
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    So stupid to put it down. It’s just pandering to the idea that we have to be “safe” at all times.


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    -Chris

  9. #29

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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    The Emotion of FEAR is a very powerful primal drive for survival. Fact is, living and life with Mountain Lions in this area is a reality and Mountain Lions have lived in this area FAR longer than humanity.

    About a year ago, there was a pair of Mountain Lion cubs that was discovered running around downtown Half Moon Bay.. Some panicked, Some were held in AWE over their beauty and majesty. Both were eventually captured and are now living at the Oakland Zoo.
    https://www.hmbreview.com/news/mount...9937f8af8.html

    Back in 2012, there was community outrage over killing another mountain lion in the same area. Dept of Fish & Game & such should have altered their policy to NOT simply shoot or kill.

    If you're willing to venture into their homeland, you're the one trespassing NOT the Mountain Lion, You're the one risking getting attacked (very rare) and it is NOT the Mountain Lions fault.

    Killing of big predators is more an expression of irrational Fear driven by the innate drive of survival and the need to "feel" as Top Predator with the ability to control the environment of residence....for perceived security and relief from uncertainty.... All of which is a mere mirage of perception.

    And yes, I live in an area where Coyotes roam the streets with Bambi and a host of other wild critters.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by C. D. Keth View Post
    So stupid to put it down. It’s just pandering to the idea that we have to be “safe” at all times.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #30
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Mountain Lion near Santa Cruz

    Well, there's a protest going on right now about putting down that offender cat yesterday (euthanized under sedation - not shot). It seems to have been a runt having trouble competing for normal game; but who knows what it was really thinking. But catch and release it's now official policy in this whole area unless a cat has been proven to be a threat to people. But city folk, my, my. They went into a panic about two mountain lions around the cemetery up the road; turned out to be two golden retrievers. They confuse bobcats with mtn lions. Some think a coyote is going to eat them. ... But back to hillbilly stories... An employee of my father killed a record-book 300 lb male lion back when they were unprotected game. He made up a fancy story about his life and death ordeal with the monster and sold the tale to Fish & Game magazine. Well, why would any lion get that obese to begin with? It had acquired behavior quite unusual for that species in terms of preferring junk food to natural game, and just like nuisance black bears, had super-sized itself. He heard a ruckus in the garbage can early one morning and simply stuck a gun barrel out the bedroom window.

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