A mountain lion has been repeatedly spotted in Rustic Canyon, according to residents of the area.
On Saturday night, February 16, Cesar Sixtos, a groundskeeper at the home of Hightree Road resident Maryann Gold, spotted the mountain lion on the property when he was out walking their dogs.
“I saw the mountain lion three weeks ago and recorded video of him, then saw him again two Saturdays ago,” Sixtos told the Palisadian-Post. “I take the dogs out around 11:20 p.m., in the middle of the night, and the little dogs suddenly got alarmed—they started barking.
“Then I see the mountain lion by the bushes. [The Gold family has] a big dog, about 120 pounds, and you can tell the mountain lion wants to attack the little dogs, but the big one is barking and keeping him away.”
Sixtos explained that he used his flashlight and pointed it at the mountain lion’s face, prompting him to retreat into the bushes.
“The black dog started following him, and I slowly started taking the little dogs inside and got knives from the kitchen to protect myself,” Sixtos continued. “I finally called the big dog, and he came to me, but when he turned around, the mountain lion started moving, and I pointed my flashlight on its face but he was coming straight toward us.
“I started walking in reverse and the dog is barking at him, but we ended up getting inside.”
Gold’s neighbor spotted the mountain lion again on Saturday, February 23, at 3 p.m. in the 700 block of Brooktree Road.
“It’s scary now, any sound I hear, I feel like there’s a mountain lion there,” Sixtos said. “But in some ways it was a good experience—I never thought I would see one.”
It’s unclear if the mountain lion Sixtos saw on February 16 was the same mountain lion spotted on the afternoon of February 7 along Greentree Road.
It was clear, however, that the cat was a mountain lion, as made evident by its distinctive long, tensile tail.
LAPD Beach Unit Officer Rusty Redican posted Sixto’s video to Nextdoor on February 8, warning residents to “be aware” of their surroundings.
“We’ve seen and videotaped this un-collared mountain lion around our home over the past two weeks,” Gold told the Palisadian-Post during a recent interview. Gold said she had never seen mountain lions during the day, but reported the incident to Animal Control, Fish and Wildlife, and the police.
“I would like to warn my neighbors that this cat is a little different from others and to be really careful,” Gold said. “As the cat does not have a collar, no one knows anything about it and why it is acting, in the words of Fish and Wildlife, ‘wiggy’.”
Los Angeles is one of only two megacities on earth to have mountain lions living within its boundaries—the other is Mumbai.
The National Park Service has studied more than 60 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002 and discovered that the No. 1 cause of death is “intraspecific strife,” or mountain lions killing each other.
This is due to strains humans place on mountain lion habitats, namely roads and highways that prevent mountain lions from roaming larger areas and other mountain lions from diversifying the gene pool.
More than 18 mountain lions have been struck and killed since NPS began its study in 2002. A construction project, the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, is slated to begin construction in 2022 and will serve as a wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway.