Mountain lion trapped in Santa Cruz aqueduct is tranquilized

This post has been corrected. See below for details.

A young mountain lion stuck in a downtown Santa Cruz aqueduct was tranquilized by wildlife officials Thursday afternoon.

Officials spent several hours attempting to lure the lion back through the aqueduct and to its habitat, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. The animal unsuccessfully tried to jump the 15- to 20-foot concrete walls to escape.


Rescuers subdued the untagged adolescent with two tranquilizer darts. They planned to blindfold and evaluate the animal before relocating it.

The lion was first spotted early in the morning, and authorities received several more calls about the lion wandering down a street, the Associated Press reported. Around 7:30 a.m., it ran away from officers on Water Street.

The animal posed no threat to the public, officials said, and officers set up a perimeter around the May Avenue aqueduct with nets to keep it contained.

“Although it was in populated areas, we were able to keep it from people and safely migrate it now here to a location where we’ve got a pretty good opportunity to move it back into its habitat,” Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark told KPIX-TV in San Francisco.

Officials from the state Department of Fish and Game, UC Santa Cruz’s Puma Project and Wildlife Emergency Services of Moss Landing were on the scene helping with the rescue.

[For the record, 6:16 p.m.: A previous version of this post referred to WildRescue as one of the groups involved. The group’s name has changed to Wildlife Emergency Services.]


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