The video – taken just outside San Francisco – shows the mountain lion as he stalks neighborhood children riding their bicycles in the street.
As wildfires continue to rage through California, wildlife finds itself displaced alongside communities. During times like these, dangerous encounters become increasingly likely.
One such encounter is captured on camera in Pacifica, California. The footage shows the large mountain lion positioning to pounce inside a resident’s yard. The cat silently watches children riding their bikes in the street before, thankfully, their neighbor yells at the lion – startling it away before the worst happens.
Neighbor prevents mountain lion from harming children
That neighbor is Timothy Kerrisk, who caught the cat on camera. Speaking to local station KRON 4,Kerrisk says he thought the lion was a large dog at first:
“I thought it was somebody’s dog that had gotten into the yard and I was like, ‘Hey, get out of here!’ Then it turned and that’s when I was like, ‘Oh my God! It’s a mountain lion!’”Timothy Kerrisk
His heart began to race, however, when he noticed the large predator was intently watching the children in the street. “Get inside!,” he yelled to the kids, which in turn startled the lion.
“And it came back towards me and it was still watching the kids, jumped over the gate right here… Still watching the kids, so I had to come out of the house and chase him out from under the car and up over the hill.”Timothy Kerrisk
In most situations, it is unfair to demonize animals and cause more public alarm than is necessary. A mountain lion – possibly displaced and hungry from wildfire habitat destruction, however – is definitely cause for alarm. Any large predator is a danger to children and pets within rural areas. One that is potentially starved and scared is a far greater threat.
In this instance, the children are very lucky their neighbor was able to scare off the big cat.
“I know that cat was fed, and I know that it was definitely hungry because it was going for my cat, then the kids, and then killed a deer up behind my neighbor’s house.”Timothy Kerrisk
Local officials have yet to determine if the lion poses a lasting threat to the Pacifica community.