Rare Mountain Lion Sighting in San Francisco

By K Fink (NPS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By K Fink (NPS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A mountain lion has been seen and photographed in San Francisco several times from June 30 to July 3.

This is an exceedingly rare event, and may provide further evidence that mountain lions are expanding their range. More importantly, it demonstrates that big cats can learn to live in human-dominated landscapes. Residents of Mumbai share the streets with leopards (this link contains footage viewers may find disturbing), and Ph.D. research by Dr. Rebecca Foster (2008) showed that jaguars are able to utilize human-altered terrain.

I admit that this presents a risk to human safety. But as far as mountain lions and jaguars are concerned, the threat is minimal. Jaguars in particular are remarkably non-aggressive towards people (Rabinowitz, 2014).

The fact that certain species of big cats are able to adapt to living with humans also represents hope for the future.  If current trends continue, we’re heading towards a world devoid of wild spaces. Therefore in order for large cats to survive they will have to learn to live alongside us. This story, as well as others, shows that they have this potential. However, it remains to be seen if we can adapt to living with them.

Click here for the full story.

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