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Mountain lion captured near Brentwood Country Club after evading wildlife officials

A mountain lion extends its body in a sprint near a tree in front of a police car
A mountain lion darts from a hiding area in Brentwood on Thursday, prompting a precautionary lockdown of a nearby elementary school.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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A large mountain lion that evaded wildlife officials for hours after it meandered into Brentwood on Thursday morning has been captured.

The young adult male cougar roamed around near the Brentwood Country Club as officials tried to dart or tranquilize the animal to relocate it into the “nearest suitable habitat,” said Tim Daly, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Shortly after 4 p.m., department officials captured the cat across the street from the country club, Daly said. After wildlife officials checked the animal’s vital signs and consulted with veterinarians, it was “released successfully” to a suitable habitat, Daly said, but declined to specify where.

Earlier attempts to dart the lion “didn’t take,” Daly said, explaining that an agitated animal is less likely to accept the tranquilizing medicine.

As attempts to capture the mountain lion continued through the afternoon, San Vicente Boulevard shut down in both directions and a nearby elementary school sheltered in place. Someone first spotted the cat just after 10 a.m. Thursday, calling the Los Angeles Police Department, said agency spokesperson Melissa Podany.

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Brentwood Science Magnet, a K-5 school, sheltered in place just before 11 a.m., said Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson Nina Buranasombati. Officials from L.A. Animal Services and the L.A. School Police Department were on scene, along with the wildlife officers, she said.

As mountain lions seek to avoid wildfire zones, their risks of being hit by automobiles or entering deadly conflicts with other pumas are increasing.

Oct. 20, 2022

Daly said “wildlife conflict specialists” with the state agency responded Thursday afternoon. Their main concern is always public safety whenever such a predator enters communities, he said.

Earlier Thursday, the animal was lying down next to a Department of Water and Power building on the corner of San Vicente Boulevard and South Gretna Green Way, at the northwest corner of Brentwood Country Club, Podany said.

“It’s kind of chilling next to a building under a tree,” Podany said Thursday morning.

Tiffany Yap, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, reminded people that cougars tend to avoid homes, schools and places where there are people.

“It might be alarming for some to see wildlife in their neighborhoods, but it’s the mountain lion who’s the most scared,” Yap said. “When they do make an appearance, it’s often because what’s left of their habitat has been lost or fragmented by roads and development.”

It was not immediately clear where the mountain lion had come from, but Brentwood is not far from the Santa Monica Mountains, where many of the big cats roam. There was a recent spotting of a mountain lion near Griffith Park, believed to be the celebrity-caliber cat P-22.

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Times photographer Wally Skalij contributed to this report.

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