A large mountain lion entered a fenced enclosure containing three dwarf goats and two alpacas, killed the goats, and carried one off to feed on it outside a home on Tripp Court in Woodside sometime after 6 p.m. on Monday (Nov. 14), according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
A veterinarian examined the site the next morning and concluded that a large lion had been the predator, the Sheriff's Office reported. A worker from a San Jose tallow factory disposed of all three goat carcasses.
"I feel terrible. These goats were our family," said Ed Begun, who with his wife owned the goats. "It was just devastating to see this happen. Then again, on the other side, who's intruding on who's territory? You've got to be a little philosophical about it."
Begun said he has no plans to try to lion-proof his fence, which is close to 6 feet high. Lions have vertical leaps of 12 to 15 feet, wildlife biologists say.
The goat carried off weighed between 40 and 60 pounds, Begun said. The remains were found about 75 yards from the fence.
Begun said that he is leaving the light on at night for the horses in the barn and that he has moved the alpacas to a safer place with a neighbor.
"It's clear that (the alpacas) had been running around" in the enclosure, he said. "I spent a pretty sleepless night going back and forth to the barn."
The couple have two inside dogs, he said.
Asked if they will be getting more goats, he said they would cross that bridge when they got to it.
The lion in question is being sought, he added, and while hunters may kill it, another will take its place.
"We're just going to have to co-exist," he said. "I'm not militant about (the deaths), but I am upset about it."