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Mission Viejo residents put on alert after mountain lion spotted over weekend

Mountain Lion spotted over weekend near popular Mission Viejo hiking trail
Mountain Lion spotted over weekend near popular Mission Viejo hiking trail 02:34

Mission Viejo residents have been put on high alert after a mountain lion was spotted prowling near one neighborhood over the weekend, but hasn't been seen since. 

A team from Helping Out Wilderness Locally, or HOWL, spread out through Wilderness Glen on Monday, hours after the big cat was spotted on two separate occasions. They set up four trail cameras in hopes of getting a glimpse of the cat, which does not have a collar or a tag to help identify it.

Additionally volunteers with the Mission Viejo Animal Services door knocked, passed out fliers and spread awareness for residents to be extra vigilant with the potential predator on the prowl. 

The first sighting came near Via Noveno, when a man walking on the trail saw the mountain lion on Saturday afternoon at around 2:30 p.m. 

"He noticed that a lion had jumped a fence and he was fairly close to it," said Kyle Werner, a Mission Viejo Animal Services Supervisor. "They made eye contact and the individual left the area and called 911 and ... the lion had ran away."

Responding animal control officers spotted the lion near the trail in some bushes, where it was laying down and relaxing before they made noises to spook it.

They estimated that it weighs around 100 pounds. 

"Obviously that got our attention since it's right here," said Rick Hayes, who lives nearby. "We've lived here for 33 years and never had a mountain lion sighting before."

This sighting comes just days after a mountain lion sighting in the backyard of a Woodland Hills woman's home, where the big cat was recorded as it was perched in a tree. That cougar has similarly not been seen since. 

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