A mountain lion cornered by a game warden near a San Francisco playground and shot with a tranquilizer gun on Friday has been fitted with a GPS collar and is back in the wild.
The animal was spotted earlier in the day amid trees, brush and ivy behind a housing complex in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood. Authorities decided to tranquilize the cat and relocate it because it was near a playground and in a heavily populated area.
— Bopanna (@ubopanna) November 10, 2017
Lt. James Ober, a Fish and Wildlife game warden, shot the 82-pound male a second time, after he saw the animal still moving after 10 minutes. By 2 p.m., the mountain lion had been loaded onto a truck, its paws secured with straps and a black mask over its eyes.
The animal was turned over to the Santa Cruz Puma Project out of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
California Fish and Wildlife officials initially thought that the puma was a female, but Chris Wilmers, a wildlife ecologist at the university and the head of the Puma Project, said it is “a typical young dispersal age male who takes a wrong turn.”
The mountain lion was released in the Crystal Springs area in the peninsula, which is the closest suitable habitat. The animal was tagged and has a GPS tracker, courtesy of the Santa Cruz Puma Project.
It’s unclear if the cat was the same animal recorded Wednesday slinking past the home of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who lives in the Sea Cliff neighborhood.
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 4, 2017
The San Francisco mountain lion walked by my house near the Presidio at 5am last night! City, Park police, and national park service notified! Big cat! pic.twitter.com/ZDYGg1lXnV
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) November 8, 2017
The Presidio sent an advisory to residents with safety precautions should a mountain lion be encountered. The last time a mountain lion was spotted in the Presidio was in 2015.
While experts are unsure just how many mountain lions are in the Bay Area, they do say that typically the animals try to avoid humans.