SILVERADO – Members of the Trabuco Trailblazers 4-H Club discovered this week that eight of their prized pygmy goats had been killed by a mountain lion sometime late Monday night, according to news reports.
One goat survived the attack, but was injured, said Winston Vickers, a wildlife veterinarian who was called out to investigate the area Tuesday.
Vickers, who has been studying mountain lions in the Santa Ana Mountains since 2002, said the mountain lion likely got into the pen where the goats were held through holes and gaps along the perimeter or roof. And that could have led to a frenzy, he said.
“They’re trapped,” Vickers said. “A common characteristic of cats in that situation is to go into a frenzy of grabbing every animal that runs by. It’s not unusual to have animals killed, it’s a behavioral characteristic.”
The Trailblazers 4-H, a youth development club, raise the goats and show them off annually at the O.C. Fair.
The goats were being held at private property south of Silverado Canyon, Vickers said.
“I feel very sorry for the kids that lost their animals,” he said, “but they seem to recognize the reality of the situation.”
The mountain lion did not feed on the goats following the attack, Vickers said, adding that it may have been spooked by a car. It did not touch other animals in neighboring pens, NBC News reported.
Members of the Trailblazers went out to see the goats one final time. They also patched up the holes in the pen on Tuesday.
“I wanted to come out here to see them because I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t come out here one last time, which was hard to see them that way,” 4-H member Maddie Cota told NBC News on Wednesday.
Vickers set up cameras on Tuesday and the footage caught the mountain lion attempting to get into the pen by jumping onto the roof, which proved unsuccessful.
The camera was kept up Wednesday night, but the mountain lion did not show. Vickers doesn’t believe it will…