The Golden Gate National Parks are teeming with wildlife. While most of the fauna tend to shy away from human interactions, there’s always a chance you might come face-to-face with an animal that calls the parks their home. Here are some tips to remember if you experience such a rare encounter:

Mountain Lions

In the extremely rare case that you see a mountain lion:

  • Stay calm and maintain eye contact. Hold your ground or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright.
  • Do not approach a lion. Always give them a way to escape. Never approach a mountain lion—especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation.
  • Do not turn your back or run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so they don't panic and run.
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. If you're in mountain lion habitat, avoid squatting, crouching, or bending over, even when picking up children or pets. Maintain an upright posture to signal that you’re a human!

If the mountain lion exhibits threatening or aggressive behavior:

  • Do all you can to appear intimidating. Attempt to appear larger by raising your arms and opening your jacket if you are wearing one. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
  • Throw rocks, sticks, water bottles, backpacks, and any heavy object available to you. If looking bigger doesn't scare the mountain lion off, use whatever tools you have within reach to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it. Again, be sure to give the lion an escape route.

If the mountain lion continues to move in your direction:

  • Start throwing things at it. Your safety is more important than the mountain lion's.

If the mountain lion attacks you:

  • Fight back! Do not play dead or lie down. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.

Report a Sighting

Please report any suspected mountain lion sighting immediately using the contact information below. Early reporting assists us in our efforts to respond in coordination with California Fish and Wildlife.

San Francisco Animal Care and Control Emergency Dispatch at (415) 554-9400 or 311

Presidio Wildlife Hotline at (415) 561- 4148 or email jyoung@presidiotrust.gov