Morgan Hill resident Gary Borgnino was out for a walk with his dog Saturday when he noticed something laying on the side of the road at the base of El Toro mountain: a deer carcass.
At the end of West Dunne Avenue in the quiet cul-de-sac several yards from the road is a now decomposing male deer; Borgnino suspects a mountain lion killed it.
When Borgnino and his dog discovered the deer Saturday, the kill looked fresh. A pool of blood inside the body cavity had not yet coagulated, he said.
“It must have happened Friday night or early Saturday morning,” he said.
On Sunday, Borgnino returned to find more had been eaten off the carcass including part of the leg thigh, lungs and the liver. By Monday, the blood was more dried up, its rib cage sticking out as the body continues to decompose in its grassy dirt spot. Its antlers seemed to have been torn off in the struggle, said Borgnino.
Borgnino, who lives down the road, has never spotted a mountain lion himself but has noticed fewer deer recently. He mentioned friends who hike on El Toro that have seen some lions on the mountain.
He said he did not report the incident to the police, but did take several photos to show to his friends and family who hike in the area.
“I didn’t want somebody to disturb the carcass. Its better for the lion to gnaw at it, reap the fruits of its labor and not disturb me or my dog,” he said.
The last mountain lion sightings reported in the Morgan Hill Times were in November when Steve Peterson saw one chasing a neighbors cat on Dahlberg Drive. The same day, a woman spotted one on her walk with her yellow lab on Monterey Road and Cosmo Avenue.
In April 2011, a mountain lion was suspected of killing sheep also on West Dunne Avenue.
Residents may report mountain lion sightings and encounters to Morgan Hill police at (408) 779-2101.
Authorities urge residents to be cautious and aware of how the animals behave, offering the following advice:
–Do not hike alone: Go in groups, with adults supervising children.
- Keep children close to you: Observations of captured wild mountain lions reveal that the animals seem especially drawn to children. Keep children within your sight at all times.
Do not approach a lion: Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
Do not run from a lion: Running may stimulate a mountain lion’s instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact. If you have small children with you, pick them up if possible so they do not panic and run. Although it may be awkward, pick them up without bending over or turning away from the mountain lion.
Do not crouch down or bend over: In Nepal, a researcher studying tigers and leopards watched the big cats kill cattle and domestic water buffalo while ignoring humans standing nearby, police said. He surmised that a human standing up is not the right shape for a cat’s prey. On the other hand, a person squatting or bending over looks more like a four-legged prey animal. If you are in mountain lion country, avoid squatting, crouching or bending over, even when picking up children.
Do all you can to appear larger: Raise your arms, open your jacket if you are wearing one. Again, pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it.
Fight back if attacked: A hiker in Southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal.