The experienced photographer said he knew not to run, but instead stand their ground and make loud noises to scare the mountain lion away.
A wildlife photographer’s recent hiking trip to California quickly turned into a frightful ordeal after spotting a mountain lion through the bush right in front of him. He captured the moment online and it’s got everyone talking.
Mark Girardeau and friend Rachel de Vlugt were walking along with a trail in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon when they spotted a wild big cat eyeing them up through a bush. Girardeau told FTW Outdoors that while setting up some tracking cameras to capture wildlife they saw a mountain lion run up a hill and stop to watch them about 20 feet away.
Luckily, the experienced photographer knew not to flee. Instead, they stood their ground and made a loud noise. In the video below you can hear him repeatedly shouting at the lion to ‘go back’ and ‘go away’.
Caution the video contains adult language.
They said the mountain lion followed them for a while before wandering off.
“Thank God Mark was there because I think I would have taken off running (which is obviously the worst thing you can do). We held our ground and so did the lion for what felt like an eternity,” de Vlugt wrote on Instagram sharing the video foot
Taking to Instagram, Girardeau wrote: “I think there are 2 things that could have caused this: either she has a kill nearby and she was defending it or she ran up at us not realising we were humans since she couldn’t completely see us from down below. There were deer in the area that we saw so she probably assumed it was them.”
Girardeau said to CBS Los Angeles that he’d be lying if he said the whole encounter didn’t scare him.
“It just happened so fast. You don’t have any time to plan it. It just happens and you’re forced into the situation and you have to react. You can’t run away,” he said.
How would you react if you were in the photographer shoes came face-to-face with a wild mountain lion?