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Nov 24, 2012 7:40 PM by Erika Flores

Educating Sabino Canyon Park visitors about mountain lions

TUCSON-Thousands of people visit Sabino Canyon every day during peak season and although most people rarely see mountain lions, they have been spotted recently.

Game and fish sightings usually go up between Thanksgiving and Easter as the weather cools down and more people visit the park.

The Arizona Game and Fish department said there haven't been any deadly attacks in Arizona but there have been nearly 50 sightings from the Santa Catalina to the Rincon mountain areas within the last year.

"They're suddenly face to face with a mountain lion, that's not necessarily a dangerous situation," said Mark Hart with Arizona Game and Fish.

Arizona Game and Fish uses a picture shot by a cyclist of three mountain lions and mountain lion seized in a poaching case to show the difference between a relaxed mountain lion and one that's about to pounce.

"There are certain behaviors Mt. Lions engage in that make it obvious you're in danger," said Hart. "Crouching, stalking rocking on its hunches and lastly the ears go flat and that means an attack is eminent."

If you ever encounter a menacing mountain lion: "make yourself big, hands over your head, stomp your feet, make loud noises, throw stuff," said Hart.

It's an important lesson considering as many as 67 mountain lions can be found in the Santa Catalina and Rincon mountain areas.

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