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Mountain lion is captured after spending the night under Monrovia home

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Crawl spaces are often filled with strange critters. Still, the sight of a mountain lion climbing beneath Silvia Escobar’s Monrovia home shocked her.

The cougar had been prowling around the neighborhood for the past week. Once it was cornered Thursday, officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tranquilized and removed the big cat from below Escobar’s residence.

“We did dart a mountain lion this morning,” Tim Daly, a Fish and Wildlife information officer, said Thursday morning. “The goal is to check its health and then release it as long as it’s healthy enough to be back in the wild.”

The male cougar has “pretty substantial” neck injuries and is heading to a veterinarian to be examined, Daly said.

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“They said it probably had head trauma, and that’s probably why it came down,” Escobar said, referring to the animal’s stroll into town. Daly suggested the mountain lion — which was not tagged — may have hailed from the nearby Angeles National Forest.

Police are searching for the big cat and cautioning residents to keep an eye on kids and pets after several sightings.

Escobar said she first learned there was a big cat roaming the area on Tuesday night after returning from a trip to Idaho. Her brother showed her a picture of the mountain lion in his yard, which is attached to hers, and warned her to be careful.

She said she called police after her husband spotted the mountain lion scooting beneath their home Wednesday night. Monrovia officers weren’t equipped to tranquilize the animal, so she locked her doors and checked them twice, Escobar said, noting that she couldn’t sleep after hearing a growl from beneath her home in the wee hours.

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Fish and Wildlife officers arrived early Thursday, ready for the big cat. From her bathroom window, Escobar saw the tranquilized animal lying on the ground. It was later moved to a cage for transport, she said.

“I almost wanted to touch it, but I was afraid it might wake up,” she said with a laugh.

Authorities think the animal got into the crawl space through an opening along the home’s exterior, she said.

“I hope they don’t come back. I’m sure tonight we’re going to cover up those holes. We don’t want any more surprises,” Escobar said.

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“Mountain lion attacks on humans are very rare, but it has happened. That’s why we respond the way we do when a mountain lion starts appearing as comfortable as the one in Monrovia started to appear,” Daly said.

Wildlife officials noted that more than half of the state is mountain lion habitat. Because of that, residents are cautioned to keep an eye on small children and pets and “to limit the attractions” that might encourage the big cats to hang around.


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