Last week there was proof that the city and county of San Francisco has not been fully tamed. Living in San Francisco’s “wild” west side, I have seen raccoon and skunks threading their way through the Sunset’s twilight streets. I have even seen coyotes in Golden Gate Park. One at the intersection of Lincoln and Great Highway and a whole family at Middle Lake. Seeing a family with healthy coyote pups, thriving in the midst of such a vast urban area restored my faith in the power of nature to survive in the absence of a “traditional” habitat and speaks to me about the resilience of nature in the face of compromised or destroyed ecosystems. And now an even bigger mammal has crossed into the southern border of San Francisco.
An adult mountain lion was captured on a home security camera in the Seacliff neighborhood, sometime on the evening of June 30th. The lion was spotted on two other occasions making it’s way south, the last sighting, on July 3, was at Lake Merced in the southwestern part of the city.
The real question I ask myself is: are mountain lions creeping into our habitat or have we been creeping into their’s? I will let you answer that question for yourself, I know I have an answer.
The anchor for this sketch was a lion mount at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. I was told the lion was shot in the Carmel Valley in the 1970s because it was preying on livestock.
I have been lucky enough to see a live mountain lion in the Bay Area. It was on a backpacking trip in Pt. Reyes in April of 2011. I was just heading back from Arch Rock when I saw the large reddish cat with a long tail cross my path about 20 yards away. It was a brief look but I later found out that a motion camera about a mile a way from Arch Rock capture an image of a lion about once a week.