SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Authorities warned residents in San Francisco's Bernal Heights and Portola neighborhoods that a mountain lion was seen prowling the streets early Tuesday morning.
San Francisco Animal Care & Control (ACC) representatives said the office received word that a cougar was photographed by a doorbell camera walking around Gaven Street in the Portola neighborhood just south of Interstate Highway 280 after 3 a.m. Tuesday.
A resident in that neighborhood observed the animal prowling their backyard on a Ring camera.
The mountain lion took a quick sniff around then headed for a gap in the fence that leads to Interstate 280.
Later, another neighbor reported seeing a mountain lion walking through Bernal Heights Park. Both calls noted that the lion did not show any aggressive behavior.
Chenea Pulido lives near where the mountain lion was first spotted.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I mean, I just moved here and I heard about coyotes. But a mountain lion? That's straight out of a movie."
Just 15 minutes before the first sighting, Pulido was outside with her dog Tootsie.
"We were out here, like 2:45, and did our business as usual and we went back inside," Pulido said.
Surveillance video gave San Francisco Animal Care and Control some clues about the big cat. Executive director Virginia Donahue noticed the animal's collar.
"It means he has been captured at some point before ... There's some sort of tracking," she said.
With the help of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, they learned the male cat had been collared by the Puma Project. The last reading received confirmed the animal was indeed roaming in the area of near I-280 and Highway 101 in San Francisco. Flyers have been posted at Bernal Heights Park warning residents to be on alert for a mountain lion.
Animal Care and Control believes the cougar simply got lost and hopes he's already made his way back home or will do so Tuesday night.
"If he is still in the city, he's probably scared, hunkered down somewhere waiting for it to get dark so he can leave," Donohue said.
Residents who encounter mountain lions are encouraged to avoid running or turning their back. Instead, they should face the animal, make noise, try to look bigger by waving their arms, throw rocks or other objects and pick up small children. Dog owners should keep their dogs on a leash.
Anyone who sees a mountain lion is asked to call the ACC emergency line at (415) 554-9400.
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