A wayward cougar was seen roaming the streets of San Francisco earlier this week. The urban core of one America’s largest cities is obviously not where a wild big cat belongs.
The big cat was eventually captured while lounging in a tree and taken to the Oakland Zoo.
In addition to witness accounts of a wild cougar exploring the urban lifestyle, data collected from the GPS collar the puma was wearing confirmed it had been spending time within city limits.
When the cougar was seen relaxing in a neighborhood tree, the city Animal Care and Control crew was alerted and arrived on the scene in time to lockdown the cougar before it could flee again.
The mountain lion is in a tree on Santa Marina near Mission. Animal Control Officers are at the scene, monitoring the situation. California Fish & Wildlife is on the way to dart and remove. pic.twitter.com/wCBYalUAmn
Authorities darted the cat with a tranquilizer, startling it out of the tree and sending it running for a nearby front porch where the cat subsequently passed out.
Neighborhood resident Ken Shelf witnessed the safe removal of the cat unfold.
“We stopped and somewhat kiddingly asked them if they were out looking for the cougar and they told us yes, it was currently in the tree.
I felt frightened, but also somewhat giddy to have the worlds collide in this fashion, a beautiful beast like that, living in the wild, yet wandering the city at night, looking for something to do, and possibly a bite to eat… just like the rest of us.”
After being safely extracted from the city, the cougar was transferred to the Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary hospital to be thoroughly evaluated.
Oakland Zoo officials tweeted that the healthy, two-year-old male mountain lion received vaccinations and had bloodwork done while in zoo custody.
Alex Herman, a vet at the zoo, even affectionately nicknamed the big cat “Mister Handsome.”
“We’ll basically give him an injection so he falls asleep so we can handle him safely, but also so it’s not stressful for him. We want this guy to have the best experience possible. So I’ll be doing a full physical exam.
I can’t say where he’s going to be released, but he probably will not go back to Santa Cruz, because we don’t want him to find his way back to San Francisco again.”
After making some bad decisions and winding up lost in the big city, the cougar has received a clean bill of health and is slated to be released back into the wild, where it belongs, in the very near future.