Mountain Lion Found Wandering Downtown San Francisco Captured, Released Into The Wild

(Screenshot/YouTube - KPIX5)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A young mountain lion wandered around downtown San Francisco for two days before being captured Thursday by local and state officials.

The mountain lion, identified as a male cub weighing 50 pounds, was first seen Tuesday by a motorist near Mission Bay, one of the city’s urban neighborhoods. The disoriented animal reportedly roamed the city until he was found Thursday morning sleeping in a planter box along a busy street.

The cat was also spotted by a police officer near Oracle Park, the stadium which houses the San Francisco Giants, according to San Francisco Police Department spokesman Adam Lobsinger. The city’s Animal Care and Control was able to capture the mountain lion without sedatives before transporting it to Oakland Zoo for inspection.

Zoo officials told KPIX 5 that the cat appeared frightened and behaved aggressively during its inspection. Officials added that they had to place a mask over the mountain lion’s face to provide oxygen. They also reportedly placed a tracking collar on the cat after the inspection.

Oakland Zoo veterinarian Dr. Alex Herman told KPIX 5 the zoo’s veterinary hospital had treated over a dozen mountain lions in recent years. “Unfortunately, we see a fair number of orphaned mountain lions in California due to the deaths of their mothers,” he told KPIX 5. (RELATED: San Diego Child Possibly Attacked By Mountain Lion: Officials)

Following the zoo’s inspection, the mountain lion was released in a wilderness preserve Thursday night by California Fish and Wildlife.

Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Deb Campbell stated that the situation was unusual, as officials rarely get reports of big cats in San Francisco, KTLA 5 reported.

“We never had a mountain lion right in the middle of downtown San Francisco,” Campbell said.