Mountain Lion in Silicon Valley Parking Garage Returned to Wild

Thursday, 08 May 2014 02:25 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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A mountain lion was tranquilized and captured in the Mountain View suburb between San Jose and San Francisco on Tuesday night after a five-hour standoff with police and game officials.

According to NBC Bay Area, Fish and Game Lt. Andrew Hughan said the young, 2-year-old male was trapped in a parking garage under a car before the capture, and was later set free in the Santa Cruz Mountains where he originally came from.

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"I was skating and then I just saw the mountain lion in a garage," Victor Lopes, a local boy, told the news station. "Me and my friends started running."

Game officials discovered a tracking collar on the big cat, which belonged to the Santa Cruz Puma Project, University of California, Santa Cruz group and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Researchers there later confirmed that they had tagged the lion when he was 9 months old and still living in his mother's territory in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

They showed reporters the path the young lion took into the suburbs as he began to "disburse" in April. Disbursement refers to the stage of development when a young lion decides it's time to have his own territory. The young lion made his way into Silicon Valley, home to technology giants like Google and Facebook, by accident, researchers said.

We're thankful that we were able to do this, keep everybody safe and not have to shoot the lion," Sgt. Saul Jaeger of the Mountain View Police Department told The San Jose Mercury. "It's kind of by luck that it went into an area that's kind of a large cage."

A crowd of nearly 300 people gathered around the parking garage trying to get a glimpse of the mountain lion, however police asked that they leave and shelter in place.

"I thought they were chasing a person," resident Jose Sanchez told ABC San Francisco. "But when they were over there I heard a lot of people talking about mountain lion."

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