Watch CBS News

Mountain Lion Sedated and Captured Near Santa Rosa Overnight

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- Police in Santa Rosa on Wednesday said a mountain lion was found and captured after being sedated by wildlife experts outside a Rincon Valley home Tuesday night.

Wednesday afternoon, the Santa Rosa Police Department posted information on its social media accounts as well as photos of the mountain lion that was spotted late Tuesday.

At around 10 p.m., officers responded to the area of St. Francis Road and De Soto Drive after reports of a mountain lion sighting. When officers arrived on scene, they located a young mountain lion in the front yard of a residence.

The mountain lion refused to move or leave the area even with multiple patrol vehicles shining lights and making noise, police said. The mountain eventually started to move slowly, but appeared to be injured or ill.

Officers stayed on scene for nearly three hours while waiting for wildlife resources, with the mountain lion moving to neighboring yard during that time.

Police worked with local wildlife experts from several non-profit organizations -- Sonoma Wildlife Rescue and True Wild, and an additional veterinarian all responded to the scene -- as well as Fish and Wildlife officials. A tranquilizer dart was deployed by veterinarians to sedate the mountain lion.

Experts from True Wild and Sonoma Wildlife Rescue took the mountain lion to a local wildlife sanctuary for observation. They said the mountain lion was a very young male, weighing approximately 45 pounds. It did not show any obvious signs of injury or disease.

Wildlife experts planned to observe the mountain lion and conduct medical tests before determining the best course of action for the animal. As of Wednesday morning, the mountain lion is still in their care, doing well and improving. No additional information about the mountain lion's potential medical issues was available.

Over the last several months, mountain lion sightings have been on the rise across the Bay Area. Just last week, a wayward mountain lion prompted a lockdown at two Rohnert Park middle schools before being tranquilized and removed from the area.

Mountain lions have been caught lurking in the shadows on security cameras in Millbrae. A handful of residents in the Oakland hills and Piedmont say they've seen mutilated deer carcasses in their neighborhoods. One wildcat was even caught in a tree in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood and transported to the Oakland Zoo while another broke into a San Bruno home filled with game trophies.

More than half of the state is mountain lion territory, and it's not too unusual to see them popping up in unexpected places, according to officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The species typically migrates during the dry season in search of ample food and water supplies, but they might be traveling further than usual as drought conditions are on the rise and deer populations are declining, department spokesperson Ken Paglia said.

"Be aware that we do share the state with other wildlife, like mountain lions or bears, they are around," Paglia said. "Even though they potentially can be dangerous, they're usually in the city because they're looking for food resources and they're not there to hurt us."

Despite the recent sightings being attacked by a mountain lion is a rare occurrence.

"We want to make sure the public is safe, but we also want the animal to be able to live out his life in its own habitat. That's probably the best solution," Paglia said.

Installing motion center lights around the property, keeping pets indoors at night and adequately storing feed supplies are some of the ways residents can avoid encounters with mountain lions. More tips and tricks from the Mountain Lion Foundation can be found online.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.