Only On CBS2: Cyclist Comes Face-To-Face With Mountain Lion

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A cyclist came face-to-face with a mountain lion Sunday on Mullholland Highway.

Fortunately for Danny Benson, the mountain lion was preoccupied with eating a deer it had just taken down in the Santa Monica mountains.

Benson spoke to reporter Melanie Woodrow in a story Only on CBS2.

“I saw there was this dead deer, and thought, that’s awful. Then I saw the deer moving. And I moved forward and realized, ‘Oh my goodness. It’s a mountain lion pulling the deer,'” said Benson.

The mountain lion has been tracked since she was a kitten — she’s monitored with a GPS tracking system.

“We call her P-23. She is the 23rd [puma] that we collared,” Kate Kuykendall, a spokesperson for the National Park Service said. “It’s like she’s 18 now and left home.”

Kuykendall believes this is the first kill P-23 has made on her own.

“I’m glad it was the deer and not me,” says Benson.

A motorcyclist going in the opposite direction encountered the mountain lion first and snapped the picture of Benson as he happened on the scene.

Looking back on the encounter Benson says, “it was very surreal.”

In the event you encounter a mountain lion, officials remind you to try to appear as big as possible, maybe even throw something.

One thing you should never do, reports Woodrow, is turn and run. The lion will think you are prey.

It was actually Benson’s second close encounter with a big cat. What are the odds?

Kuykendall says, “There are rangers who have spent their entire careers in the mountains and never have seen one.”

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