Park rangers warn of increase in mountain lion sightings in Northern Arizona

Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way...
Do not approach a lion. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.(National Park Service)
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 7:45 PM MST
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CLARKDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Next time you’re hiking through Yavapai County, you’ll want to be extra cautious of your surroundings.

Park rangers at the Tuzigoot National Monument are warning about an increase in mountain lion sightings along one of its trails, and now, they have photographic evidence.

Wildlife officials say trail cameras caught the creature consistently roaming through the Tavasci Marsh trails during the day when visitors are often out wandering. And although it’s uncommon for mountain lions to approach humans, experts say you still need to take caution and even fight back if necessary.

“A hiker in southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal,” the Park Service wrote on Facebook.

What other steps should you take? Hike in groups, avoid river banks or heavy vegetation, and be with others at dawn or dusk. Remember that if you approach a lion, don’t get closer and don’t run away. You want to keep the lion from thinking that you’re a threat. “Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal,” the Park Service said.

Authorities ask anyone who sees a mountain lion to report it to a park ranger immediately.