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Mountain lion safety tips: If you see one, what should you do?

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 17:53:28-04

A new video featuring Mountain Lion safety tips will be played on a continuous loop at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area Visitors Center.

The video was screened for the first time Friday morning at 10 a.m.

Sabino Canyon has an estimated one million visitors per year, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. AZ Game and Fish Tucson said in a media release that they get between 80 and 100 calls about mountain lions annually.

Here are some tips from Game and Fish about mountain lion body language, and how to react:

  1. If you see it far away and moving, there is a minimal risk for humans:
    • Keep an eye on kids at all times
  2. If it's less than 100 yards away and moving:
    • Avoid rapid movements such as running and keep your voice down
    • Stay in groups and keep children with adults
    • Keep an eye on the animal
  3. If the mountain lion is less than 50 yards away, looking at you, its ears may be changing positions:
    • Hold small children
    • Do NOT turn your back to the lion
    • Look for nearby weapons/display the weapons/use an aggressive posture
    • Watch the lion at all times
    • Move away slowly
  4. If it is closer than 50 yards, hiding, and intensely staring at you:
    • Hold small children/place older children behind adults
    • If a safer location or one above the lion is available, go there
    • Do NOT run
    • Do NOT turn your back to the lion
    • Raise hands and other objects such as jackets above heads
    • Prepare to defend yourself
  5. If the animal is hiding, intensely staring, crouching and/or creeping:
    • Move slowly
    • Place large objects such as trees and boulders between yourself and the lion
    • Smile/show your teeth
    • Make menacing sounds/throw things if the lion is close enough to hit
  6. If the animal is crouching, tail twitching, ears erect, body low to the ground
    • Do everything previously mentioned
    • Use whatever weapons you have
    • If you have rocks or other items that can be thrown, do so
  7. If its ears are turned so the "fur" side is forward, body low to the ground, tail twitching, rear legs may be "pumping" or "treading" -- there is EXTREME danger:
    • Prepare to defend yourself
    • Fight back
    • Make menacing noises
    • Do NOT turn your back
    • Do NOT run