Wildlife officials in New Mexico are warning hikers and other visitors about a potential danger on a trail in the Sandria Mountains east of Albuquerque: mountain lions.
Although the chances of actually encountering a mountain lion are low, officials have fielded numerous calls recently over sightings of the big cat on the La Luz Trail, according to KOB-TV.
Forest workers want people to take precautions, especially around dawn and dusk when jogging and running can trigger the big cats’ instincts to chase and attack.
“We do not want to discourage people from visiting the forest,” wildlife biologist Esther Nelson told KOB, “but we do want to make people aware and offer some precautionary measures to keep visitors and their pets safe.”
A few other tips include keeping children and pets close at all times and don’t hike alone.
Although mountain lions are usually quiet and elusive animals, the National Park Service offers recommendations in case of an encounter.
If you see a lion, stay calm, don’t approach it, don’t run from it, and don’t crouch down or bend over.
If a mountain lion moves toward you or acts aggressively, do everything you can to appear intimidating. Speak in a loud voice and try and appear larger. If that doesn’t work, park officials suggest throwing stones or branches at the cat to try and scare it off.
If it does attack, fight back however you can. Also don’t forget to report any attack to a forest ranger.