Mountain Lion Stalking Incidents at Lava Beds National Monument in California

The NPS Morning Report says they are investigating mountain lion stalking incidents at Lava Beds National Monument in California.

According to he report:

At 9 a.m. on May 10th, staff at the visitor center front desk received a cell phone call from Laura Goforth, who reported that she was being stalked by a mountain lion along the Three Sisters trail. The report was forwarded to chief ranger Terry Harris, who responded down the trail to Goforth’s location along with SCA intern Bill Davis. En route, Harris and Davis discovered lion tracks overlying recent hiker tracks. They then heard screaming from inside the wilderness area, came upon Goforth minutes later, and escorted her out of the area. Neither ranger saw the mountain lion, but tracks in the area supported Goforth’s account of what had happened. Goforth, an interpreter from Yellowstone National Park, had taken a day hike into the Lava Beds wilderness. Approximately two miles into the wilderness, she heard something hit the ground behind her. Turning around, she discovered a mountain lion six to ten feet behind her. Following her training, she slowly backed away from the lion down the trail, while using her jacket and day pack to look larger. She kept backing down the trail until the lion stopped following and moved under a large juniper tree. Keeping the lion in sight, she used her cell phone to call for help. Just before the arrival of the ranger staff, the lion moved into the brush out of sight. She kept yelling for the rangers and heard them calling out to her. Goforth then heard a noise behind her and turned to find the lion approximately ten feet behind her. At this point, she began screaming. She was uncertain whether that or the yelling of the rangers caused the lion to turn and run into the brush and lava field. The park has activated its mountain lion management plan and rangers are following up on the incident, attempting to determine if the lion has a den in the area or is possibly sick, which might explain the abnormal behavior. This is the first verified lion stalking incident in several years.
[Submitted by Terry Harris, Chief Ranger]

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