Wandering mountain lion caught alive in urban residential area in Western California

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — A mountain lion that had been roaming around an urban residential area early Friday has been caught alive after it was shot with a tranquilizer gun behind a housing complex near San Francisco, a local TV showed.

A TV footage showed that the lion was carried away on a pickup truck with its four paws cuffed and a black bag covering its head.

The big cat was spotted slinking around an area of the Diamond Heights village of San Francisco, crouching in the trees, brush and ivy behind the homes, before it was cornered by a game warden who shot the animal with a big tranquilizer gun to clear the residential area for safe living.

Local media quoted a police officer at the scene as saying that the cougar was a full grown female mountain lion.

“We’re all kind of baffled,” said Justin Dellinger, a senior environmental scientist said. “I think we’re all a little stumped about how it even got there.”

It was not clear whether the sleek feline was the same animal that was seen lurking around the mansions in an area about six km away from downtown San Francisco earlier this week.

Wildlife experts believe the big cat either found its way to San Francisco from wildland areas on the San Francisco Peninsula or sauntered over the Golden Gate Bridge, a landmark tourist attraction in the city, in the middle of the night.

It is estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions are living in California, and their territory can extend from 10 to 400 square miles, or about 16 to 640 square km, according to wildlife officials.

It’s not unusual for roaming animals to find themselves in populated areas. Local residents spotted pumas or mountain lions in and around San Francisco four times in June and July 2015.

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