Woodside: Mountain lion kills three goats


A large mountain lion entered a fenced enclosure containing three dwarf goats and two alpacas, killed the goats, and carried one off to feed on it outside a home on Tripp Court in Woodside sometime after 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

A veterinarian examined the site the next morning and concluded that a large lion had been the predator, the Sheriff's Office reported. A worker from a San Jose tallow factory disposed of all three goat carcasses.

"I feel terrible. These goats were our family," said Ed Begun, who with his wife owned the goats. "It was just devastating to see this happen. Then again, on the other side, who's intruding on who's territory? You've got to be a little philosophical about it."

Mr. Begun said he has no plans to try to lion-proof his fence, which is close to 6 feet high. Lions have vertical leaps of 12 to 15 feet, wildlife biologists say.

The goat carried off weighed between 40 and 60 pounds, Mr. Begun said. The remains were found about 75 yards from the fence.

Mr. Begun said that he is leaving the light on at night for the horses in the barn and that he has moved the alpacas to a safer place with a neighbor.

"It's clear that (the alpacas) had been running around" in the enclosure, he said. "I spent a pretty sleepless night going back and forth to the barn."

The couple have two inside dogs, he said.

Asked if they will be getting more goats, he said they would cross that bridge when they got to it.

The lion in question is being sought, he added, and while hunters may kill it, another will take its place.

"We're just going to have to co-exist," he said. "I'm not militant about (the predation), but I am upset about it."

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Why is the lion being sought (to be killed)? If the animals are left outside, it's not the lion's fault. Granted, I'd be upset too, but I also wouldn't leave animals, goats or otherwise, outside.

Like this comment
Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I totally agree with Susan. Leave the mountain lion alone!

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Lets' play this out for a moment:

A large mountain lion develops a taste for farm animals.

These farm animals likely have had their defenses bred out of them. In any case, predators are not something they're used to encountering.

They have nowhere to run when a lion, with superior night vision, jumps over a fence in the middle of the night, a fence that they themselves cannot jump over and may have difficulty even seeing.

What's next? The alpacas? Frightening the horses? (They're probably too big to bring down.) The goats across the way?

Most mountain lions don't prey on farm animals. When one does, that's something to take note of, I'd say. Trapping it (at least) makes sense.

In any case, they're going to have a helluva time finding it.

Like this comment
Posted by Al
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Nov 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Check the state law, if a mountain lion is killing farm animals a permit may be issued to hunt it. Next step for this lion might be your dog, imagine walking your dog on a leash at night and a mountain lion decides the pooch might be a tasty morsel.

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen A
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Nov 19, 2011 at 11:53 am

Time to start caring more about people and less about mountain lions. What are we waiting for! Waiting for a nice young lady or kids to get attacked by the lion ?

I love animals. But love people more. Time to either trap, remove, or kill the lions in the area.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

The use of the plural in the previous post is not in agreement with the posts above it.

A lion that has crossed the red line of attacking something other than a wild animal is a problem, but most lions don't do that.

Trapping, removing or killing "lions" is completely inappropriate and will never happen under current state law. Mountain lions in this state are innocent until proven guilty, more or less, and that is how it should be.

Like this comment
Posted by bob
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Why aren't these goats in a stall at night? I don't think this is the first time this has happened. To those that are worried about a lion attacking a human, there has never been an incident reported.

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I think mountain lions are cool, but people like the previous poster who post misinformation as fact are not cool; in fact they can be more dangerous than lions.

BOB-just since 1991 the number of REPORTED mountain lion attacks in the US and Canada has averaged 5.6/yr, with an average of .8 deaths/year. Of those attacks, at least 7 occurred in California. Google it!

Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Yes, I clearly recall a young lady (on a mountain bike, I think) being attacked by a mountain lion in Orange County about 10 years ago. I'm not sure if she was killed or not.

It does happen.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Apr 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm
peter carpenter is a member (registered user) of Almanac Online

Read Beast in the Garden by David Baron.

“The theme of the artificiality of the wilderness around Boulder runs throughout The Beast in the Garden, as does the idea that by romanticizing this artificial wilderness and its supposed 'naturalness,' Boulder's citizens were shirking their responsibility to manage it properly and were refusing to understand their role in creating the conditions that had led to the return of cougars.”

“Weaving together deep research, meticulous reporting, vivid characterization, disciplined prose, informative political and historical asides, lucid science, incisive wit, and narrative pacing as smooth and suspenseful as a stalking mountain lion, Baron has created a wily page-turner....”

The root of the problem is, as Baron documents so well in his book Beast in the Garden, that mountain lions no longer fear humans. Since they are protected in California there is no reason for them not to push into human territories and that is exactly what they are doing.

The experience in Boulder Colorado where the residents encouraged mountain lions to 'share' their space with humans resulted in the mountain lions losing their fear of humans. The mountain lions became comfortable around humans and started eating their dog food and then their dogs. Finally a mountain lion attacked and killed an adult human.

The solution was a vigorous program of reinstilling fear of humans into the mountain lion population. This involved attacking them with painful but non lethal substances whenever the mountain lions encountered humans. The mountain lions learned to avoid humans and human spaces. Killing a mountain lion produces no such learning as they are solitary animals and hence there are no other mountain lions to witness and learn from such a killing.

Baron's Beast in the Garden describes how the Boulder community learned to deal with this problem without having to kill the mountain lions. But it took a human death to convince the humans that they had to stop playing pussy cat with wild animals.

But I suspect, as usual, we will continue to think that we are special and where we live is unique and that there is nothing to be learned from other communities who have dealt with this problem.

Like this comment
Posted by Los Altos resident
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Bob wrote "To those that are worried about a lion attacking a human, there has never been an incident reported".

Wrong, Bob. I've been saving newsclippings for a numbers of years now since cougars have been encroaching densely populated areas. One was at Grant Road and Fremont in Los Altos recently (1/2 mile from my home),
there was one stalking kids in a Palo Alto schoolyard in May 2004:

Web Link

and a double-whammy also in 2004 where one cougar killed and ate a bicyclist in Orange County and four hours later another cougar savagely attacked a woman bicyclist also in Orange County:

Web Link

The are many incidents of cougars killing and attacking people. Horses have been brought down by cougars on Stanford property flanking I-280.

There's a bobcat in my neighborhood that kills and eats house cats.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Anyone interested in the facts about the number of human killed by mountain lions can go to this website:
Web Link

The current reported attack rate in the U.S. and Canada is ~6 attacks per year, with just under 1 death per year.

As Baron points out, killing the mountain lions is not the answer, rather we must reinstill fear of humans in the mountain lion population.

Like this comment
Posted by bob
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 22, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I meant attacks in San Mateo county, which is still zero.

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Well Bob, since your post referred to why people shouldn't be concerned, you should have added that all they have to do if they see a Mt. Lion in San Mateo County is to tell the lion its in SM county and this is a no kill zone.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I'm too lazy to research this right now, but iirc, the Orange County killing was in a place that had recently been devastated by wildfires & some of the animals were dead, some starved, some displaced. I think the mt lion in that case was starving. It was awful, but there's an important lesson: don't be casual about where you hike or ride. Pay attention to areas that have been damaged by Mother Nature and overbuilding - it's on us to be responsible. The cyclists in that case insisting on riding there immediately after the attack were, in the opinions of the experts involved, of poor judgement. I knew some of the officials involved which is some of it stands out in my memory.

By & large, mt lion attacks on humans are still relatively rare, thankfully. We need to keep it this way.

Like this comment
Posted by bob
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 29, 2011 at 11:38 am

WhoRu It is also zero in santa clara county and alameda county, beyond that I don't know.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 26, 2017 at 1:59 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Contemporary Indian restaurant, Ettan, headed to Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 6,092 views

Good News: The New Menlo Park Rail Subcommittee Hits A Home Run
By Dana Hendrickson | 12 comments | 1,722 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,358 views

Two degrees can do all that?
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 901 views

Tame, Maim and Claim the Wild Sea Vegetable
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 486 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More