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Hesperia residents uneasy about mountain lion sightings

June 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A few weeks ago, Hesperia resident Charles Littlewood and his son Charlie noticed something lurking in their backyard.

"We originally thought it was a bobcat," Littlewood said.

But it wasn't. A mountain lion had moved in.

"He is a young mountain lion, so he doesn't like the dogs," Littlewood said. "He doesn't like the kids. Any kind of noise, he takes off."

Even so, the young cougar continued to come around. Seven-year-old Charlie was playing on his bike when a neighbor spotted it and yelled out.

"We were right next to it but it jumped away," Charlie said.

Suzanne Edson with Hesperia Animal Control says it's not unusual to see the large cats prowling closer to populated areas, especially as the weather begins to heat up.

Edson says mountain lions are on the prowl for water and food. They are timid by nature, unless cornered.

"Most of the time they are going to run away," she said. "They don't want to interact with humans in most cases. So anything you can do to make yourself scary to him is going to make him go away."

The Littlewoods also believe their newest neighbor may be the same mountain lion that Animal Control captured in a Hesperia garage just a month ago. It was released in the San Bernardino National Forest.

"We don't tag the mountain lions, so we don't know if it is the same one," Edson said. "Even if we saw him we wouldn't be able to confirm if it was the same lion or not."

The Littlewood family is hoping the mountain lion will retreat back to the foothills soon.

"It's kind of creepy having him around," Charles Littlewood said.

Officials said the best thing to do when encountering a mountain lion is to make loud noises, pick up a rock and throw it toward the mountain lion, not at it.

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