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Press Release
Orange County Logo COUNTY OF ORANGE

Harbors, Beaches and Parks

January 26, 2004
Contact: Angela Burrell, 714.973.6870

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Reopens

DNA Test Results Confirm Mountain Lion's
Responsibility For Both Attacks

Orange County park officials will officially reopen Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park tomorrow, Tuesday Jan. 27, after California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced today that it has obtained positive DNA results linking a suspected mountain lion to attacks upon two mountain bikers earlier this month.

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park will resume its daily operating hours of 7 a.m. until dusk. "Now that Dept. of Fish and Game and the Orange County Forensics tests have returned with conclusive evidence that officials removed the animal responsible for both attacks, we feel it is appropriate to reopen the park under normal operating conditions," said Harbors, Beaches and Parks Director Kevin Thomas. "However, we remind park visitors to always remain cautious and alert, and comply with the directives of park rangers when entering any wilderness park," Thomas said.

Safety Guidelines When Visiting a Wilderness Park
* Watch for signage pointing out dangers and alert notices posted throughout the park.
* Be aware, stay alert; your safety cannot be guaranteed when entering wilderness areas inhabited by wildlife.
* Contact the park office for special advisories or park updates.
* Practice the buddy system - travel in pairs or groups and carry a cell phone.
* All minors under age 18 should have adult supervision.
* Mountain lion sightings should be reported to the park ranger or other appropriate official immediately.

For guidelines and tips on handling encounters with a mountain lion, visit www.ocparks.com or DFG at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/lion/index.html.