There have been several more mountain lion sightings in the Turlock and Denair area Wednesday and Thursday, including one at Emanuel Medical Center.
At least two of the reports are confirmed sightings and in one case a paw print was found in the area, the Turlock Police Department reported.
It is unknown if it is more than one mountain lion that has been roaming in the area for several weeks now.
“Unless there is a distinct track pattern, like having a missing toe, then we just don’t know how many there could be,” said Lt. Patrick Foy of California Fish and Wildlife.
The first report came shortly before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday from a resident in the 2500 block of Barbara Way. The woman stated the mountain lion had been seen on the fence behind her property. Police and Fish and Wildlife officials set up a perimeter around the area, but did not locate the big cat, said police spokesperson Officer Mayra Lewis.
At 11:14 p.m. Wednesday the Turlock Police Department was informed there was a confirmed sighting of the mountain lion by a security guard at Emanuel Medical Center. The guard told officers the mountain lion was spotted when she was going out to check on a homeless woman that stays in the area. The guard saw the woman running and then saw the mountain lion walking near a dumpster. She honked her horn at it and the mountain lion ran off in the direction of Colorado Avenue.
The guard described the mountain lion as being about three and a half feet long and about two and a half feet tall.
Officials checked the area, but could find no trace of the mountain lion in the area, Lewis said.
Around 1 a.m. Thursday the police department had an unconfirmed sighting of the mountain lion in the 600 block of Wayside Drive, but once again the big cat proved elusive.
At 7:18 a.m. Thursday the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Turlock Police Department to report a confirmed mountain lion sighting on an access road off of Lester Road between Hawkeye Avenue and Tuolumne Road.
Authorities did find mountain lion tracks at that location.
The sighting was more than a mile from Denair Unified schools.
At 12:20 p.m. Thursday the Turlock Police Department had another unconfirmed sighting of the mountain lion in a field in the 3700 block of Colorado Avenue. No tracks were found in the area.
In recent days a mountain lion has been spotted in the 1900 block of N. Quincy Road, near Lynborough Court, as well as in the area of Santa Fe Avenue and E. Zeering Road.
On Sept. 21 a mountain lion was seen around 6 p.m. by residents in the area of Anning Drive and N. Johnson Road.
The recent sightings have prompted both the Denair and Turlock school districts to issue warnings to parents about the mountain lion or lions’ presence in the area.
DUSD Superintendent Aaron Rosander instructed his administrators and staff to exercise caution without unduly alarming students, parents and the community. Thursday, elementary students were told to stay on the blacktop during recess, while teachers and aides stayed on the perimeter.
“We’re trying to take the practical and reasonable approach, based on the information we receive from the sheriff’s office or DFG,” Rosander said.
TUSD issued a statement encouraging parents transport their children to and from school over the next several days, as well as have them walk in groups to and from the Julien, Dutcher Middle, and Turlock High campuses, as a precautionary measure.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife does have a biologist with tranquilizer darts on standby about 20 minutes away from Turlock, Foy said.