Prowling Mountain Lion Family Prompts Park Closure Near Cupertino – CBS San Francisco

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CUPERTINO (KPIX) — A popular park in the South Bay is closed for the weekend because of a family of mountain lions that doesn’t appear to be afraid of people, rangers from Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District confirmed Friday.

The three teenage cubs are at the age where they’ll soon separate from their mother.

“We had a video taken by a preserve visitor last week — fairly close to this family — and they were nonchalantly walking across the trail,” said public affairs specialist Leigh Ann Gessner. “The mountain lions are not showing fear of people so that’s concerning to us.”

The family of cougars made its presence known last week to visitors of Rancho San Antonio Open Space District near Los Altos. The preserve is massive, spanning nearly 4,000 acres adjacent to Cupertino.

Frequent sightings and reports that the cats didn’t appear afraid of people forced rangers to close a small portion of the park on Aug. 17 before ultimately shutting down the entire preserve on Friday.

Visitors were greeted by rangers who told them that the park was closed for public safety as well as safety for the mountain lions throughout the weekend.

Gessner said they brought in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to help instill fear of people in the mountain lions. Gessner said they would use different measures, such as loud noises.

“Right now, Fish and Wildlife has placed some deer carcasses in the preserve to try and draw the family to specific locations,” she said. “Makes us uncomfortable that they are they getting that habituated to being around people so we want to nip this in the bud.”

Alain Soquet and Laurence Moury said they visit the heavily-trafficked park at least once a week.

“I think it’s very important to preserve wildlife,” Moury said. “We’ve taken too much of their habitat so it’s the least we can do.”

Although the teenage cubs are at the age where they’ll soon leave their mother, Nilima Dave said it won’t stop her from returning once Rancho San Antonio opens to the public.

“I trust their decision to make it safe for us and safe for the animals here and then we’ll come back and we’ll enjoy it again,” Dave said.

To find out whether Rancho San Antonio is open, check OpenSpace.org

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