Sacred Heart School camera captures photos of possible mountain lion that turns out to be a raccoon

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on September 20, 2017

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Update as of Sept. 21: The Atherton Police Department reached out to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife yesterday after receiving information of a possible mountain lion sighting on the Sacred Heart School camera. It has now been determined through the agency that the animal shown on the school campus camera was not a mountain lion but rather a raccoon. Maybe the ringed tail and black eyes were the giveaway!

Sacred Heart School staff informed the Atherton Police Department today (9/20) that a game camera located on its campus photographed an animal which appeared to be a mountain lion.

The animal was first photographed on September 19 at approximately 7:30 pm. What appears to be the same animal was photographed again at approximately 6:30 am this morning in the same area.

The animal did not have any contact with humans, and there have been no in-person sightings.

Because the Department of Fish and Game has regulatory authority over wildlife, including mountain lions, Atherton PD forwarded the photographs to that agency for its scientists to determine whether the animal is a mountain lion.

To date, Fish and Game has not confirmed the sighting, but, in the interest of keeping the community informed, Atherton PD issued a news flash.

Instructions on what to do should you encounter a mountain lion are available online.

In August, 2016, a mountain lion was spotted on Park Lane near the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, and earlier this month mountain lions were reportedly seen in a couple of places in Woodside. Hikers in nearby open spaces also report mountain lion encounters from time to time.

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