Residents report mountain lions killing livestock and pets
Article updated on Friday, Aug. 20
ATASCADERO — Kelly Bobbitt started paying attention to the reports in January when he lost a goat. He monitored the Nextdoor App and discovered that reports of mountain lion encounters in his area of Atascadero started back in November of 2020. Some of the encounters were attacks on livestock, while some were instances of people coming in contact with this mountain lion (or lions) where the lion(s) did not back away.
There have been several sightings captured by video and photos of the mountain lion in daylight and at night which have been shared on the Next Door App. The sightings and attacks have all taken place in an area which can be roughly defined using CA HWY 41, Santa Cruz Rd., Monterey Rd., and Santa Ana as borders.
“This could be because I only see feeds from those areas Nextdoor,” said Bobbitt, “or the lion is using Graves Creek for his highway.”
There was also a Ring Security Camera video circulating on Facebook at one point, showing the lion plucking a cat off a tree near Graves Creek.
“My blood pressure has been raised because in the last two nights,” said Bobbitt. “There were two incidences on two properties next to each other with three goats killed on August first and two goats killed on August second. These are both a few doors down from me.”
The reports logged by residents on the Nextdoor App are as follows:
• December 2020: 3 Goats killed, 1 Goose killed, and 1 personal encounter
• January: 1 goat killed, 1 sheep killed, and 1 personal encounter
• March: A neighborhood dog fights with a mountain lion.
• April: 1 goat killed
• June: 2 goats killed, 2 alpacas killed, 1 personal encounter
• July: 4 sheep killed
• August: 5 goats killed
“When Fish and Wildlife came out in the afternoon after our goat was attacked—with video evidence—the Wildlife Biologist informed me there is political pressure preventing Fish and Wildlife from doing anything,” Bobbitt explained. “I believe many of the people above have filled out the Fish and Wildlife Wilderness Incident reports at apps.wildlife.ca.gov/wir, which are supposed to drive Fish and Wildlife to action. But they seem to either not be getting these or are ignoring them and hiding behind the excuse of ‘if no one reports these, then we can’t do anything.’ Many years ago, when we had another problem lion in the area, they took care of it very quickly. But this one is dragging on.”
Attempts were made for comment from both the City and the regional department of Fish and Wildlife.
On Thursday, Aug. 19 the City of Atascadero responded by stating “Since Dec 1, 2020, the Atascadero Police Department (APD) is only aware of four incidents reported to us of livestock being killed by mountain lions for a total of five goats and two alpacas. APD always responds to any report of persons in immediate danger, however we have not received any reports of mountain lion stalking or posing immediate threats to people.”