Mountain lion spotted in Laguna Beach

A mountain lion was seen roaming Laguna Beach on Sunday night and early Monday.

City officials received reports around 11:30 p.m. that a male mountain lion, nicknamed “M317,” was seen near Catalina and Calliope streets, according to a news release.

Then, around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Laguna Beach police officers spotted the animal in the 600 block of S. Coast Highway between Cleo and Legion streets.

“In all sightings, including last night, M317 has displayed an appropriate fear of humans,” the city said.

Irvine Police shared this image of a cougar on March 22, 2022.

The cougar is tagged with a GPS collar by the California Mountain Lion Project, which studies and tracks the animals’ movements and behavior.

Since April 25, the animal tracked by the investigator has been in the Aliso Woods Canyon area.

The city said it is working with partner agencies, including OC Parks and UC Davis researchers, to continue monitoring the animal’s whereabouts.

The same mountain lion was captured on video in March running through an Irvine shopping center and trying to get into a barber shop. The animal was apparently not a welcome customer as the receptionist quickly closed the door, causing the big cat to crash through the glass window and then flee. He was eventually captured and released back into the wild.

Mountain lions are solitary and elusive, generally avoiding people by nature.

It’s not known why cougars venture into neighborhoods, but wildlife experts say that as the human population expands into cougar habitat, there will be more frequent sightings.

Residents should remember the following safety tips for mountain lions and other wildlife:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach any wild animals.
  • Give wildlife the time and space to stay away from you.
  • If you see a mountain lion, try to look as big as you can and don’t crouch down.
  • Don’t walk alone, bring a friend.
  • Wear bright and contrasting clothes.
  • Keep an eye out for signs and trail postings.
  • Avoid jogging or mountain biking in low light conditions at dusk and dawn.
  • Stay on the path.
  • Supervise children and keep them within arm’s reach.
  • Keep pets on a secure leash.
  • Keep pets inside.

If you see a mountain lion, report the sighting immediately to Laguna Beach Police at 949-497-0701.

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