Mountain lion and cub spotted in Portola Valley

Animals reportedly seen in 5900 block of Alpine road Wednesday

A mountain lion with a cub was reportedly seen in Portola Valley Wednesday night, San Mateo County emergency officials said.

The cats were spotted near the driveway of a property under construction in the 5900 block of Alpine Road at about 8 p.m., officials said.

Residents are advised to never approach a mountain lion or go near a mountain lion cub. Most mountain lions avoid confrontation with humans. Anyone who encounters a mountain lion should face the animal, make noise, and try to appear larger by waving arms and throwing rocks, emergency officials said.

More information about mountain lions is available at

— Bay City News Service

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by saleha
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 23, 2011 at 1:16 am

Please leave the mama and cub alone. I would hate to see that wildlife shoots these beauties when we are infringing on their territory. We, in the Bay Area, need to find a way to deal with these beauties without killing them. Go to Colorado or other states thatknow how to deal with this kind of situation, witout violence. I say this because of the horrible situation in Palo Alto where police shot a beautiful cat in a tree and killed it.

Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Mountain lions should be shot whenever found wandering within residential and developed areas. Seems seleha has forgotten the 2004 incident had the cougar crouching over a Palo Alto school yard endangering 100s of school children around noon. A tranquilizer dart takes up to 30 minutes to become effective as reported along with more details of the incident in the SF Chronicle article here:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Another article, interestingly also from 2004, entitled:

Mountain lion attacks kill 1, injure 1

can be read in the San Francisco Chronicle article here:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 24, 2011 at 2:21 am

I completely agree with your sentiments. I just hope this mountain lion and her cub do not go anywhere near man. If they do and pose a threat, tranquilizer guns should be used and the lions relocated.

They are not in our territory; we are in theirs. To kill them is simply shameful.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Nora, while I share your sentiment, the situation w/the lions isn't very easy.

In Palo Alto, animal control doesn't have tranq guns (unless that's recently changed). PHS in SM county has tranq guns that animal control uses. The problems w/using them on the lions: - it's hard to hit them accurately, they will run away when hit & it's hard to track them because it can take time for the meds to take effect, depending on where they were hit & their body temp can plummet, putting them at additional risk. Frankly, a big part of why the cat in PA was killed was because PA animal control & the chief of police weren't remotely ready to deal w/the situation. The tranq guns they had weren't used by officers, who barely received training. The responding police, IIRC did have a tranq gun, but for the reasons stated above instead killed the cat. The police have to put public safety first, so that guides their actions.

If all of the above is actually done successfully, relocating them is not the rosy every after we'd hope. The lions claim a lot of territory and since we don't know which lion is where, relocating them is risky. If they're put on another lion's turf, they'll likely be killed. Since the public doesn't know this or see this, it does seem that tranq & relocate is an ideal option, but it isn't always.

If the tranq meds & methodology can be improved & if there are data showing where they can be more safely relocated, the tranq & relo is of course a better option.

The combination of overbuilding into the hills & the increase in the lion pop means of course this conflict isn't going away. What I do hope, but don't know, is if this conflict is driving more research into improving our response to the cats. I suspect it is, I just haven't checked into it.

There are local experts, so if you're inclined, you could probably find out w/a little digging, about what's going on in the area of lion conservation in this area.

I, like you, hope this cat & her cubs stay away from all humans - or at least, don't let us see them. They often see us & stay out of our way, but we are not good at doing the same.

Like this comment
Posted by Local Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm

These cougars (aka pumas aka mountain lions) are NOT the 40-something bored miniskirted housewives from Atherton and Woodside who prey on Palo Alto's teenaged boys, they're wild animals who will kill and eat humans as you can read in one of the SF Chronicle articles I cited earlier.

As "Hmmm" wrote earlier in this thread, cougars are very territorial. The cub cited in the PAOnline article will not be permitted to prey and roam in the same area as its parent(s) -- it will have to find its own territory and on the SF Peninsula that means it'll be soon encroaching on human-habited land.

The 2004 cougar incident in Palo Alto should have been a wakeup call;
read again the first Chronicle article I cited above. The children were definitely at risk and using tranks would have been foolhardy.

Cougars are increasingly being sighted in dense populated areas. One was seen last year on Grant Road between Fremont Ave and Foothill Expressway in Los Altos (less than 1/2 mile from my home). Besides the skunks, possums and feral cats roaming this area, there's also a bobcat (or two) who does attack, kill and eat people's pet cats and dogs.

Allowing cougars to roam free in residential areas is asking for real trouble. Cougars have already been known to take down horses on Stanford properly along I-280; do you want a cougar to kill and eat your children just because it is a beautiful animal? I think not. Be careful what you're asking.

Like this comment
Posted by Chuckling
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Oh good lord. You people are hilarious! Where are we indiscriminently shooting these cats? And where are these cats continually threatening people (existing in sight does not = a threat)
Anecdotal tales of something happening once or twice within a couple decades...reason for fear from those overly prone to it I guess.
Stick to the baylands is my advice to those people, unless you think those clapper rails might come after you.
Someone saw a mountain lion in an area we ALL know they live and threive in........and?

Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Umm, have any of guys actually *been* in Portola Valley? It's in the foothills and quite rural. I've seen coyotes there. The mountains right above the valley are a natural mountain lion habitat.

It's not downtown Palo Alto, folks.

Like this comment
Posted by Love Mountain Lions!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Local Observer doesn't seems to realize that the American Mountain Lion or Cougar is a protected species under the endangered species act. Killing one must be the absolute last resort and will be thoroughly investigated if one is shot.

Having said that mountain lions have increased in number recently, and the mule deer they eat are becoming scarce so they are wandering down into populated areas looking for food.

I have a friend who lives in the hills above Los Gatos, he sees mountain lions near a creek on his property regularly. Other than taking photographs of them, he leaves them alone. There are probably more than 40 mountain lions in the Santa Cruz mountains now.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 6,018 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 9 comments | 1,829 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,576 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,225 views

The kindness of strangers
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 518 views


Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More