This is the astonishing moment a wildlife photographer came face-to-face with a mountain lion in the wild
While hiking in southern California with a friend to go and check on some trail cameras they had set up, Mark Girardeau captured this hair-raising moment on film.
“We were hiking out after already checking the files and noticed a mountain lion walking by the camera not long before we were there,” he writes.
They noticed something running at them with speed while on the trail to leave the area.
“By the time we stopped and looked at it, it was already 5-10 feet from us. It turned into a stare down but we were able to walk a little farther to place the bush in between us and the cat.”
So Girardeau, who runs a program to educate people on wildlife in Orange County called Orange County Outdoors pulled out his camera to film this teachable moment.
“I figured it’d be a great tool to have for how to deal with these encounters since I’m well aware of what to do in these situations.”
“Make yourself known and be dominant while not running or turning your back.”
“This also reinforces their fear of humans which equates to more lives saved in the future (both humans and mountain lions).”
Despite knowing what to do, he was still scared, “If I said I wasn’t scared, I’d be lying, but I had to kind of hype it up and make myself sound tougher.”
“This mountain lion didn’t blink. It was so weird and we were so close. You could just see its eyes staring 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 around and disappeared back into the wild.
“I’d like to make sure it’s known that mountain lions don’t seek out humans to feed on. I really think this was a case of mistaken identity.”
“The lion likely thought we were deer since there was deer in the area and it couldn’t see us from down below, once it ran up to us and got less than 10 feet away, it realized that we were humans and not deer, that’s when she stopped and we stopped and scared her off.”
It is very unlikely for a mountain lion to attack a human, let alone a fatal attack.