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Mountain Lion Picked Up Downtown

Cougar had wandered for two days in the city
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 18, 2020 5:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – A young mountain lion that had been spotted sleeping in a planter box along a normally busy street and looking at his reflection in the glass of an office tower in downtown San Francisco was safely captured Thursday and will be released into the wild, officials said. The disoriented cougar roamed the streets for two days until he was spotted by a police officer near Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, said Officer Adam Lobsinger, a police spokesman. Officers set up a perimeter and waited for animal control officials to arrive, the AP reports. They safely captured the 50-pound cat in an apartment building's green area with lots of shrubbery without the use of sedatives, Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Deb Campbell said. "In 24 hours, it only moved a few blocks. The poor guy really needed some help," she said.

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Officials get reports of mountain lion sightings about once a year. The animals come up along the Pacific Coast from the hills south of the city but eventually find their way back to the wilderness. "We never had a mountain lion right in the middle of downtown San Francisco," Campbell said. Photo and video images show it crossing streets and walking among apartment building and office towers. "It was looking in windows, looking at his reflection or something. Maybe he thought it was his mom or brother or sister," Campbell said. Mountain lions leave their families after they are 2 years old, but this lion is under that age. It's unclear what led it to leave its family, Campbell said. The big cat is in the custody of Fish and Wildlife officials, who will evaluate his health and decide where to release it in the wild, she said.

(Read more mountain lion stories.)

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