Avid hikers in certain areas of California know that you have to keep your wits about you to avoid dehydration, rattlesnakes and mountain lions.
The stealth of the big cats is what makes them so uniquely dangerous. Oftentimes, if you’ve spotted one, it’s too late.
There are various recommendations as to how you should comport yourself if you find yourself face-to-face with a puma, including making yourself look as big as possible, waving your arms, throwing things and slowly backing away — never turning away and running.
Or you can roar at them, apparently.
That is what 21-year-old Dutch Faro did when he found himself being charged by a young mountain lion earlier this month in Los Angeles County.
On Jan. 8, the musician and private chef was traveling to Bakersfield but decided to stop and check out Pyramid Lake, which a friend had recommended to him.
Faro was hiking along a trail around 2:30 p.m. when he ran into trouble.
“I was really just enjoying my hike, making a funny video and documenting it,” he told McClatchy News, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Since Faro already had his phone out, recording his hike, he was able to catch the whole encounter.
When he first spotted movement, Faro assumed it was an off-leash dog. However, when he got a good look at it, he started running before stopping and turning to face the cat.
“I saw it in my peripheral vision,” he told KTLA-TV. “And then I tried to yell at it, noth — nothing happened. And it was just about to jump and pounce on me and … I had primal instinct and roared at it.
“That was my last hope … It was coming at me, what, was I going to keep on running? I stood my ground and just roared at it.”
In the video, you can see Faro lunge toward the cat at the same time he roared. The cat, which was getting ready to pounce, quickly changed direction and then slinked under the cover of nearby brush.
The cat was clearly a young mountain lion, but despite the cat’s smaller size, it was still a formidable creature to face.
“I thought I was going to have to fight this thing,” Faro said.
More than that, though, he was concerned that the cat’s mother might be nearby.
Planning to jump into the lake if necessary, Faro quickly found a path back toward his car and walked in the middle of the road, brandishing a stick.
“People are asking me, ‘Did your life flash before your eyes?'” Faro said. “I didn’t have time for my life to flash before my eyes — I had to think on my feet.”
One fisherman from the area has a theory as to why the young lion was there.
“[A] couple weeks ago a very large Mountain Lion washed up dead on the shoreline of Pyramid lake,” Jonathan Nguyen posted in the Facebook group “The Salty Angler.”
“The cat was estimated to be 150lbs generally an Alpha Cat will run about 100sq miles of territory and these cats are solo animals they only mingle with other cats during mating season. Now with the alpha gone the smaller Lions are trying to stake their territory. Also there’s a large deer population at the lake and the area near the Vista Del Lago Visitor center is one of the roads that leads to their watering holes.
“Be careful out there I used to fish that side of the lake by myself all of the time and fortunately I have never had a run in.”
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