Video captures mountain lion wandering though San Francisco's Embarcadero, Russian Hill

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Mountain lion spotted in 2 SF neighborhoods
YIKES! A mountain lion was spotted along The Embarcadero and in the Russian Hill neighborhood in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A mountain lion was spotted wandering the streets of San Francisco overnight. The animal was captured on security cameras around the ABC7 News building on Front Street along the Embarcadero. A San Francisco resident also videoed the animal in the area of Greenwich and Jones in Russian Hill.

"It's highly unusual behavior for mountain lions who are normally very avoidant and shy. One thing I noticed from the two videos is that this is a young sub-adult so it is not an adult lion. So most likely it came from the open space South of San Francisco where we have been tracking mountain lions and their movements for the last several years," said Zara McDonald, a biologist with the Bay Area Puma Project.

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She thinks the cat probably came from the open space south of San Francisco. She also told us the mountain lion does not look like it wants to be here.

"The cat in the video looked uncomfortable moving on the city streets and it's probably trying to find its way back and may be a little disoriented. The videos are actually quite sad. It's clearly not in its comfort zone," said McDonald.

She said the mountain lion is probably afraid and not a threat to humans. But the animal could be on the prowl for rodents or small pets.

"Just be aware that there is a cat but hopefully it has made its way South again. But we don't know," McDonald said.

She says it has been a couple of years since they have tracked a mountain lion in the city and that was in the Diamond Heights area.

This isn't the first time a mountain lion has been spotted in San Francisco. In August 2019, there were sightings near Lake Merced and Golden Gate Park. In November 2017, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted video of a mountain lion outside his home near the Presidio.

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Videos of wild animals exploring empty San Francisco streets have become very popular during the novel coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

In March, a coyote was spotted following a San Francisco couple walking their dog. The coyote was seen in the same area as the mountain lion outside ABC7's station near the Embarcadero.

ABC7's security camera captured a coyote closely following a couple walking their dog in San Francisco.

In April, a nature photographer spotted a coyote exploring Kirby Cove, a beach area with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.