Update: Malibu Campus Mountain Lion Sightings

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Additional sightings of mountain lions have continued on campus, including a resident and his dog being approached by what appears to be a young lion. Pepperdine has also received information from the National Parks Service that relates to the lion activity we are experiencing. National Parks has successfully trapped a young lion (about 50 pounds) on the Malibu campus. They have confirmed the lion is not in distress, and they have collared the animal for tracking. Often, after lions have been trapped, they leave that area, and National Parks advises this is likely in this case. It is possible that a second young lion — a sibling — has also been seen on campus. The National Parks Service representatives on campus have studied mountain lion behavior in the Santa Monica Mountains for more than 15 years, and they continue to assure University officials they see no elevated risk in the lion behavior we are experiencing. Nevertheless, it is very important that all members of the Pepperdine community remain vigilant and follow best practices.

Pepperdine officials share confirmed mountain lion sightings near the Malibu campus to ensure the University community is informed of, but not overly alarmed by, the wildlife with whom we share the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the last week or so, several mountain lion sightings have been reported at the following locations (new sightings appear in green):

  • February 27 – 8:10 AM – Drescher Campus Loading Dock – Unconfirmed
  • February 27 – 12:52 AM – Towers Parking Lot – Confirmed
  • February 27 – 12:30 AM – Huntsinger Circle – Confirmed
  • February 27 – 12:13 AM – School of Law Student Parking Lot – Unconfirmed
  • February 26 – 9:04 PM – Intersection of Via de Casa and Via Pacifica – Confirmed
    • The mountain lion approached a Drescher resident and his dog while they were out for a walk. The resident said the animal rapidly approached him from the rear, likely seeking access to his dog, but that the lion did not bite, strike, or snarl at them. The lion fled when the resident kicked at it, though he did not make contact with the animal. It appears that this was one of the young lions described above.  
  • February 26 – 8:44 PM – Drescher Campus Parking Lot – Confirmed
  • February 26 – 6:30 PM – ½ mile up the hiking trail off of Chaparral Circle – Unconfirmed
  • February 24 – 11:38 PM – Baxter Drive Park – Confirmed
    • The mountain lion was found near a deer carcass and may return to the area to continue feeding for the next few days. As a precaution, Baxter Drive Park has been temporarily closed.
  • February 24 – 4:00 PM – Heroes Garden – Confirmed
  • February 23 – 7:13 PM – Via Pacifica and Chaparral Circle – Unconfirmed
  • February 23 – 12:45 AM – Thornton Administrative Center – Unconfirmed
  • February 22 – 5:06 PM – Tiner Court – Confirmed
  • February 21 – 9:10 PM – Lovernich – Unconfirmed
  • February 19 – 12:45 AM – President’s and Seaver Drive Intersection – Confirmed
  • February 17 – 4:15 AM – Center for Communication and Business Parking Lot – Unconfirmed

Confirmed sightings are those seen directly by University officials or with photo/video documentation.

We continue to work closely with the National Parks Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the situation.  You may observe personnel from these agencies on campus. These organizations do not characterize the behavior from the mountain lions as aggressive, and have indicated there is no current threat to the safety of the University community. University officials will continue to monitor this matter and advise the community to remain alert to wildlife on campus.

Please remember:

  • Do not hike, bike, or jog alone, especially from dusk until dawn when mountain lions are most active.
  • If you encounter an animal carcass while hiking, note the location, report it to Public Safety, and calmly leave the area.
  • Remember Public Safety security escorts are available on the Malibu campus 24/7 by calling Public Safety Dispatch at (310) 506-4442.
  • If you see a mountain lion on or near the Malibu campus, please report the incident to the Department of Public Safety at (310) 506-4441.
  • If safe to do so, please take a picture and/or video and send it to Public Safety via the LiveSafe app.

As a reminder, if you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Respect the animal.
  • Maintain eye contact and move away slowly.
  • Do NOT run. Running will trigger the mountain lion’s instinct to chase you.
  • Appear as large, loud, and powerful as possible.
  • If there are small children or pets present, pick them up immediately. Additionally do NOT leave them unattended outside.
  • Do not approach the mountain lion. Leave space for the cat to escape.
  • In the unlikely event of an attack, fight back. Do not fall to the ground or roll into the fetal position.