Wild critters on the move during drought

After a four-day closure due to high fire warnings, the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park has reopened. The park remained closed to the public Thursday, October 2 through Sunday, October 5 as a result of extreme heat and Santa Ana winds.

Those planning on visiting the park should use caution as extreme drought conditions in the state have not only increased the danger of fire in the area but has also forced wild animals farther down the foothills. Over the past few weeks, there have been various wild animal sightings, including mountain lions, along the San Gabriel Mountain Range and a few in local neighborhoods. Claremont residents have taken to Facebook to warn of the danger.

“At approximately 7:30p.m. and 10:00p.m. last night the dogs ferociously barked two different times,” wrote on Claremonter on Friday. “The second time we saw the mountain lion sauntering from Sage onto Mt. Carmel. It went onto the cul de sac of San Joaquin and CPD was there with flashlights but I don’t think it was found….”

Animals such as bears, deer, bobcat, coyotes, and mountain lions are becoming more desperate for food and water due to the drought conditions higher in the mountain range.

If you’re in an area where you may see wildlife, even if it’s your own neighborhood, the CDFW recommends that you carry a walking stick or a golf club, even a Maglite, and be sure to make lots of noise so they know you’re coming. Pick up small children, stand together and appear larger and shout aggressively if you come in contact with a wild animal. “Coyote Whistles,” which are free to residents and available at the Claremont Police Department, are also an easy way to protect yourself, your children and your pets. Do not hike alone, show fear, crouch down or run away.

It’s also recommended to avoid early morning or evening hikes.

 If you see a bear, bobcat, mountain lion or a pack of coyotes, do not approach and contact the Hughes Center at (909) 399-5490 to report the sighting.

—Angela Bailey


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