Summer time is in full swing, and there’s nothing like going to the beach and seeing waves crash in one after the other, cracking open a cold beer, and watching a mountain lion rock climb out in the ocean.
Wait, that last part doesn’t seem right, does it?
Regardless of if mountain lion watching is on your usual beach to-do list, it was a reality for Oregon beach goers, and a scary one at that. The famous Haystack Rock (you’ll know it when you see it) is a popular tourist destination for Oregon visitors and also what many Puffin birds call home, which is why seeing a mountain lion wandering around on it caused quite the scene.
A photographer went out to shoot images of the birds in their natural habitat just off Cannon Beach, and as he moved the lens around looking at the Puffins, he was shocked when he saw the big cat prowling around on the hunt.
The photographer by the name of Khula Makhalira captured some photos of the mountain lion, then immediately notified the authorities of the potentially dangerous situation.
Yesterday, the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge posted this message onto their Facebook page, along with photos courtesy of Makhalira:
“Around 6:30 AM this morning, a mountain lion was seen on Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. To protect the safety of visitors, the beach and access roads to the rock are closed until further notice. Oregon State Police, Oregon State Parks and City of Cannon Beach Police are on the scene managing the situation.
Haystack Rock is a designated wilderness area and protected as part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The rock provides nesting habitat for a diversity of nesting seabirds including Tufted Puffins.”
Citizens in the area were definitely on edge, but as you’ll see in the video below, the news that the big cat was on the famous Haystack Rock actually drew out a lot of visitors just to catch a glimpse of it. Classic human race thing to do: tell us not to go somewhere, and it just makes us want to do it even more.
The wildlife officials’ plan was to just let the mountain lion wander off the rock on its own, and until it did, they would carefully observe the area. Their plan ended up working out, because today the refuge took to their Facebook page once again to provide an update:
“Cannon Beach Police Department has confirmed that Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock are reopen to the public. It appears the mountain lion left the rock during the night.
We remind folks to be vigilant, as it may still be in the area. We will provide additional updates later this morning.”
So the good news is that the mountain lion is no longer on the rock. The bad news is that they don’t know exactly where it is, which does seem a touch scarier than when you knew the location of the big cat for sure.
It probably just wandered back to wherever it came from, but officials might want to check in every once in a while, because I’m sure that the mountain lion had some pretty good eating there on Haystack Rock. It will without a doubt be back to eat some more Puffins, but until it is, enjoy Cannon Beach everyone!
Take a look at the news story that ran covering the big cat on the rock: