Rancho San Antonio Park closed following mountain lion encounters

Midpennisula Open Space District closed a popular South Bay park after several encounters with a family of mountain lions.

Rancho San Antonio Park was closed over the weekend, with park rangers guarding the entrance and turning away dozens of visitors.

Earlier this week, a hiker took video of the mountain lions, spotted on the trail.

"It's a mom and three cubs," said ranger Anthony Correia.

"The family was first spotted a few weeks ago, however, the occurrences started increasing."

Park officials feared the four mountain lions were too comfortable around humans.

In one case, a hiker tried to frighten the mountain lion off the trail by making loud noises, but the mountain lion refused to move.

"Right now, we assume she's teaching her young how to hunt," said Correia.

Not wanting to be a snack, would-be hikers said they were fine with being turned away from Rancho San Antonio.

"I'm a little disappointed because I was looking forward to our outing today, but I'm glad they're taking precautions," said visitor Shadow Nielsen. "They have people's safety in mind and the safety of the mountain lions."

"I'm hoping the wildlife becomes more afraid of humans, so that they can stay safe," said visitor Jackie Hamburg.

Park rangers said they're working on making mama cat to teach her cubs to fear humans.

The Department of Fish & Wildlife recently set up bait cameras inside the park.

"They will come out and tranquilize them and do some means of hazing them to get them uncomfortable being around humans," said Correia.

"We'll collar them and hopefully the cat will move on." Park officials prefer people respect the park closures and not approach wildlife, but in the event a hiker encounters a mountain lion, it's advised to appear large and make loud noises.

Mid Penninsula Open Space District encourages people to visit its 25 other parks, which include the Picchetti Ranch, Fremont Older, and Windy Hill preserves.