This is a wildlife photographer’s incredible moment facing a mountain lion in the wild.
While hiking in southern California with a friend to check out some trail cameras they had set up, Mark Girardeau captured this hair-raising moment on film.
“We were hiking after checking records and noticed a mountain lion walking in front of the camera not long before we were there,” he wrote.
They noticed something running at them at high speed while on the trail to leave the area.
“By the time we stopped and looked at it, it was 5-10 feet away from us. It turned into a stare down, but we could walk a little further to put the bush between the cat and us. ”
So Girardeau, who runs a wildlife education program in Orange County called Orange County Outdoors, pulled out his camera to capture this teachable moment.
“I think it would be a great tool to have a way of dealing with these encounters because I know what to do in these situations.”
“Make yourself known and dominate while not running away or turning your back.”
“This also reinforces their fear of humans, which equates to more lives being saved in the future (both humans and mountain lions).”
Despite knowing what to do, he was still scared, “If I say I’m not scared, I’m lying, but I have to exaggerate it and make myself tougher.”
“This mountain lion didn’t blink. It’s weird, and we’re very close. You can only see its eyes staring back at us. ”
“Chill, just chill,” Girardeau is heard instructing his friend, Rachel Devlugt, in his video. “Get back! Back away slowly. Hold on. Don’t go fast! Don’t turn your back either.”
Finally, after what felt like forever, the mountain lion turned and disappeared back into the wild.
“I wanted to make sure that mountain lions weren’t looking for humans to eat. I really think this was a case of identity confusion.”
“The lion probably thought we were deer since there were deer in the area and he couldn’t see us from below; once he ran up to us and was less than 10 feet away, he realized that we were human, not deer, that’s when she stopped, and we stopped and scared her off”.
It is very unlikely that a mountain lion will at.ta.ck a human, let alone a fatal at.ta.ck.