PIONEER, Calif. -- Surveillance video from a home in Amador County captured the rare sight of five mountain lions together.
“We shared the videos and photos with several of our wildlife biologists and none of them could recall ever seeing five mountain lions together in the same photo or video," said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira.
According to the biologists, the only time more than one mountain lion can be seen together is either during the mating season or when a mother is raising her cubs, but typically only three at most are seen together.
“Extraordinary to capture five together for sure,” Tira told KTXL. “There’s one lion that clearly looks to be bigger and larger than the others, so we assume that to be the mother lion.”
Tira said mountain lions, also known as cougars, typically live solitary lives. During the mating season, two adults will meet but Tira said January is not mating season.
“They’re not very tolerant of other mountain lions in their territories,” Tira said.
According to Tira, the other lions are likely the mother’s cubs but he does not believe all of them are from the same litter.
“Potentially could be two different age classes, some yearlings and maybe a 2-year-old lion that she may have had earlier,” he said.
Tira said mothers often chase their cubs off after a year, so seeing a family of them is such a rare sight.
“It’s kind of nice that in a state with a population of 40 million people, there’s a place for wild lions to roam around safely,” he said.
The video was captured in Pioneer by Chris Bruetsch, who told KTXL he’s not worried at all about his nightly visitors.
Tira said others should not worry either.
“They want very little to do with humans, if nothing at all, quite frankly. And they’re very good at avoiding people and that’s why you see them at night,” Tira said.
With more home surveillance systems going up, biologists are getting more photos and videos of mountain lions in their habitat than ever before, according to Tira.
“Twenty-five years ago, this same scene might have unfolded in that same place, you know. We were all asleep at night and we didn’t have home security cameras to capture it, so we never knew about it,” he explained.
Mountain lions eat mainly deer, however, they will go after livestock and pets, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
People who live in Amador County can learn more about protecting their animals and keeping mountain lions safe by visiting keepmewild.org.