SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A mountain lion captured in San Francisco Bernal Heights on Wednesday evening was examined by veterinarians at the Oakland Zoo and handed over to California DFW agents to be released into the wild.
After being spotted in a tree Wednesday night on Santa Maria Street near Mission Street, San Francisco Animal Care officers encountered Department of Fisheries and Wildlife personnel, who hit the mountain lion with a tranquilizer dart. shortly before midnight.
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The mountain lion is in a tree in Santa Marina near Mission. Animal control officers are on hand to monitor the situation. California Fish & Wildlife is about to jump in and out. pic.twitter.com/wCBYalUAmn
– SF Animal Care (@SFACC) May 20, 2021
“It was quite shocking. At first I thought it probably wasn’t real, ”said Bernal Heights resident Ruth Ferguson, who spotted the puma.
After a few minutes, the cougar descended from the tree and climbed the front stairs of a house and became invalid on the house’s porch.
“We let the drugs work for about 15 minutes. At this point we went up and assessed and the mountain lion was well sedated, we applied some shackles, mainly so that if the mountain lion starts to move, it will not hurt itself and if for some reason any, it took an unusually long time. to get him to the zoo, they wouldn’t have to re-anesthetize him before they could start evaluating him, ”said Lt. James Ober of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife staff then took him to the Oakland Zoo, where he arrived at around 1 a.m. Thursday for observation and screening before he was released back into the wild.
Our veterinary hospital welcomed a healthy 2 year old male mountain lion around 1:00 am this morning! He was found in the heights district of SF Bernal. (It was previously necklace by @ucsc Puma Project) … pic.twitter.com/C6Mc8RFUZU
– Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) May 20, 2021
Zoo officials tweeted that the healthy two-year-old male mountain lion had been vaccinated and had been tested for blood while in detention at the zoo. He also noted that the animal had previously been provided with a collar by the UC Santa Cruz Puma project.
Oakland Zoo veterinarian Alex Herman affectionately called the big cat “Mister Beau”.
“We are going to give him an injection so that he falls asleep so that we can handle him safely, but also so that it is not stressful for him,” Herman explained. “We want this guy to have the best experience possible. So I’m going to do a full physical exam.
When asked how the Mountain Lion got to San Francisco, Dr Herman said the distance traveled was not out of the ordinary.
“Well, that’s normal dispersal behavior, so really moving around the peninsula is normal behavior for them,” she said.
As to where the cat would be released in the wild?
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“I can’t say where he’s going to be released, but he probably won’t return to Santa Cruz because we don’t want him to find his way back to San Francisco,” Herman said.
Zoo officials said on Twitter Thursday afternoon that the animal had been turned over to Department of Fish and Wildlife agents to be released to a safe space somewhere in Santa Clara County.
Our vet and animal care staff reviewed the mountain lion rescue we received last night. The 2 year old male is in very good general health! After his exam and vaccinations he was sent with best wishes with @CaliforniaDFW be released to a safe space in Santa Clara County. pic.twitter.com/wWhMWjhp5a
– Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) May 20, 2021
Data collected from the Mountain Lion’s Collar confirmed it was the same one spotted in the Portola and Bernal Heights neighborhoods on Tuesday morning.
Animal control officials said it was a young male, likely weighing between 120 and 130 pounds.
Mountain lion warning signs were posted on Tuesday and Wednesday morning alerting residents that the lion may still be in the area.
Surveillance video initially captured the stray animal on Gaven Street in the Portola District at around 3:50 a.m. Tuesday, officials at San Francisco Animal Care and Control said.
Later Tuesday morning, an eyewitness reported seeing the puma near Bernal Hill Park.
“This young cat may not have been able to find an available patch,” said Zara McDonald, director of the Bay Area Puma Project. “So he continued north and finally landed in San Francisco. “
The last time this happened was in June of last year when a puma spent two days in the city before being captured in Mission Bay. The animal was released in San Mateo County to be struck by a car in Pacifica.
The last visitor to town will be alone once released in a place that seems suitable for a puma.
“I hope he will do well,” said McDonald. “I think that’s the question these days; the size of these patches and how small and deteriorated they must be before cougars can no longer use them.
McDonald believes the increase in sightings, thanks to more cameras like the ones that spotted the cat in Bernal Heights, could mask the fact that the population is actually declining.
“There are many forces against these animals that survive today,” McDonald explained. “Those who survive, they overcome many obstacles. Yes, you need to be aware when you live on the urban outskirts, however, we’re not on their menus. These animals are not after us. They are trying to survive.
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Wilson Walker contributed to this story.