Mountain lion capture (Jan. 7, 2013)
Paul Wellman

[UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.]: The mountain lion that found itself trapped in the backyard of an Apple Grove Lane home this morning has been tranquilized and successfully captured by Fish and Wildlife officers. Sgt. Todd Johnson with the SBPD said the 140-pound animal — if it gets the all-clear from a veterinarian — will be released somewhere in the Los Padres National Forest, likely in the Paradise Road area. There’s also been talk of taking it somewhere near Little Pine Mountain.

Once the mountain lion was located on the property, which backs up against Santa Barbara’s municipal golf course, authorities set up a perimeter, told neighbors to stay indoors, put nearby Adams Elementary School on lockdown, and closed portions of the golf course as they planned their next move.

With police on roofs, a helicopter overhead, and a Fish and Wildlife officer armed with a tranquilizer gun suspended above the scene in a fire truck crow’s nest, the decision was made to subdue and trap the animal. Not long after, the mountain lion made a break from its hiding spot to a nearby bush, and one of the Fish and Wildlife officers got off a single shot that lodged a tranquilizer dart in the big cat’s shoulder.

The mountain lion remained conscious for the next few minutes as it continued to roam the yard but eventually succumbed to the sedative. It was loaded into a County Animal Control truck and transported to a clinic for observation.

Lt. Paul McCaffrey told media on the scene that the animal had apparently been living in the neighborhood “for quite some time” and that golf course employees had reported sightings in recent weeks. He said the mountain lion “had not been acting normally” and that it may be ill or simply lost.

[ORIGINAL REPORT]: County Animal Control personnel and state Fish and Wildlife officers are currently trying to corral a mountain lion in the backyard of a Santa Barbara home.

A resident in the 200 block of Apple Grove Lane near the municipal golf course called authorities at 7:07 a.m. when she spotted the big cat in her yard.

As of 9 a.m., the mountain lion was still on the property. According to SBPD spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, Animal Control and Fish and Wildlife will attempt to “encourage it back toward the mountains” along similar routes — in creek beds and through drainage canals — that it likely used to get into the city in the first place. If that strategy doesn’t work, Harwood said, the animal may be tranquillized and captured.

Reverse 9-1-1 calls have gone out to residents in the area, and people with small pets and children are encouraged to keep them inside. Nearby schools, including Adams Elementary, were also notified.

Check back for updates as the situation develops.


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