Though the grizzly bear is long extinct from the forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, it can be easy to forget that there is still a large apex predator roaming the region in the form of the mountain lion.
For one Boulder Creek family, though, that notion won’t be soon forgotten after one of the big cats found its way over a six-foot fence and killed one of the sheep that they were raising for 4-H competition.
Sabrina Shewfelt said that she had been at her home in the Bear Creek region of Boulder Creek on the day of Monday, Jan. 26 when the attack occurred — in broad daylight.
“It happened in the middle of the day,” she said, “that’s what was so shocking.”
Shewfelt said that she didn’t hear any noise or commotion, and only discovered the grisly aftermath.
“The sheep that it killed, Violet, was like 160 pounds,” she said. “There were prints from a big mountain lion … it was a large animal.”
Many of Shewfelt’s neighbors also reported seeing evidence of mountain lions in the vicinity, she said.
When she contacted state wildlife officials, Shewfelt said that the investigators “followed the trail … they told us this guy is coming back.”
She said that they’d granted her permission to shoot the mountain lion if it came back, but clarified that she didn’t want to kill the animal.
“They were going to give us the permit but we just couldn’t do it,” Shewfelt said, adding that she does now fear for the safety of the family’s remaining sheep and miniature pony.
“It’s still very difficult for the animals and for us,” she said.
In response to the presence of mountain lions, there will be a workshop this Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Boulder Creek Recreation Hall where Fish and Wildlife officials will discuss laws and safety tips concerning the big cats.
The seminar will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.