Possible mountain lion spotted in Del Rey Oaks neighborhood

DEL REY OAKS, Calif. - A possible mountain lion was spotted just before noon on Wednesday in a Del Rey Oaks neighborhood close to a Safeway grocery store.

In surveillance footage from a house camera on Portola and Osio Way depicts what looks like a mountain lion lurking in the shadows, sniffing its way through a front yard. 

"I saw one once about 30, 40 years ago out in Carmel Valley and it was a sight to see. They're really beautiful animals," said Dennis, who was shopping at Safeway on Wednesday. "He could be hiding anywhere. You know, they know their way around." 

Mountain lions are solitary animals, and they tend to avoid humans, which makes a sighting like this even more interesting. 

"Definitely shocked, especially because it's such a populated area around so many shops," said one woman. "Definitely shocked that it made its way out here, fearless."

"Given the conditions of the environment and everything, I wasn't that surprised actually," said Greg, another shopper at Safeway. 

But that does not make mountain lions safe. Police warned people to be on the lookout. They also said they are patrolling the neighborhood just in case. 

According to the California Fish and Wildlife Department, more than half of the state is prime mountain lion habitat. Wherever deer live, the predator mountain lions tend to be nearby. 

Attacks on humans are rare, but they can happen. 

"Definitely have to let everybody know in the neighborhoods to make sure they're keeping an eye on their kids, especially older kids like five-year-olds, six-year-olds that go out," said the woman. 

Small pets could also be in danger, so it is important to keep them inside if there is any sighting. Of course, while cats do not really have nine lives, some pet owners think their cat can fend for itself. 

"That cat is pretty cagey, it gets around. So it knows how to survive," said Greg.  

"No, I had a cat out in Carmel Valley, I think a bobcat got him," said Dennis. 

"Curious and scary if we saw it like close up, face to face. I would be very terrified probably," said the woman. 

Mountain lions can be declared a public safety threat if there is a likelihood of human injury. That is based on the lion's behavior and how close it is to populated areas. 

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