Mountain Lion spotted near Atwater

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Tim Lindahl couldn't believe when his wife looked out their window and spotted a mountain lion-- since they live in a neighborhood less than a half mile from Highway 99. "I'm going, okay, I mean this is the Valley. I wasn't expecting any cats like a mountain lion or something."

But he grabbed his binoculars and saw it for himself. Lindahl said the animal slowly walked across his property and disappeared behind his barn. He called the Merced County Sheriff's Office, and a fish and wildlife warden also responded. "Fish and Wildlife did confirm the presence of a mountain lion based up on tracks that were seen," said Sheriff Vern Warnke, Merced County Sheriff.

A team of wardens returned to the area Monday to check the prints on Lindahl's property and other reported sightings nearby. A spokesperson said they found no other evidence of a mountain lion in the area. They say it's possible one young male is trying to find it's own territory and will likely head to a more rural area where it can find deer to eat. "I don't want to see him around here, there's a reason for him here, he's hungry," said Lindahl.

Officials said they have not seen an increase in mountain lion sightings for the Valley. But just last month, a home surveillance camera captured one eating a sheep in three rivers. That's why authorities said it's a good idea to take precautions. "Keep your dogs and cats in because mountain lions will use those as their snacks, and we don't want anything bad to happen, and again, I emphases do not approach the animal, call us stay inside-- Get your animals inside and call us immediately," said Sheriff Warnke.
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