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He was tranq'd and will not be released back at Whiting:
Captured mountain lion will be relocated By ERIKA I. RITCHIE AND PAT BRENNAN 2012-07-17 16:26:34
LAKE FOREST – A low reverberating growl came from an unlikely patient in a cage at Dr. Scott Weldy's Serrano Animal & Bird hospital on Tuesday.
Video: Mountain Lion captured in Lake Forest
An 18-month-old sable-colored mountain lion lay in a silver cage, his eyes glowing amber from the cool and darkened room. Occasionally, he let out a hiss but otherwise appeared calm and unafraid.
The lion had already undergone a physical examination and had blood drawn. On first inspection, he seemed healthy but Weldy found it odd that he was covered with ticks. Most lions, Weldy said, are pretty clean. His blood work appeared within the normal range. He was given Frontline to address his fleas and ticks and left to rest in his cage.
The lion was taken to Weldy's Lake Forest hospital after being trapped near the Serrano Cow Trail in Whiting Ranch just after midnight Tuesday. The 100-pound animal had been seen cruising around Whiting Ranch trails for more than a week, said Capt. Dan Sforza of California Department of Fish & Game.
Tuesday evening Weldy would dart him and knock him out for his transport to a temporary facility near Palmdale, where Weldy, a longtime exotic animal specialist, is also the treating veterinarian. The Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond will be his home until Fish & Game wardens decide what his long-term home will be. Possibilities include sanctuaries or a zoo.
"There are lots of great studies done in and outside of California showing how well they adapt," Weldy said. "I'm looking at this guy for the short-term treatment so the adaption process is easier. Right now his vision of me isn't good. I've darted him once and will do it again tonight. We need to get him to a proper facility with a proper diet. Hopefully we'll have a good outcome for him."
Mountain bikers and hikers reported getting pictures of him with their cell phones and cameras. On Sunday a local hiker captured an early morning encounter between the lion and a coyote. The coyote barked at the lion as it crossed its path. Watch encounter here.
"I've never seen that before," said Sforza, who oversees the Southern California area. "It was odd the lion didn't seem disturbed but the coyote seemed a little stressed."
Whiting Park was shut down to the public for the first time on July 10. Park rangers set up a wildlife camera then to try to get a glimpse of the lion. On Friday, with no sighting of the lion, the park was reopened. But on Monday afternoon rangers and Fish & Game wardens entered the park looking for the lion after seeing the video depicting the lion and coyote encounter on Sunday. They found him sitting in view of the camera near the Serrano Cow Trail. A Fish & Game warden went to retrieve his rifle and came back within five minutes; the lion was still sitting there.
"The warden bean-bagged and pepper-balled him a couple of times but he just hunkered down somewhere close and out of sight," Sforza said. "Usually they take off, but given his behavior after hazing him, we went in to trap him early this morning."
Sforza said the state agency is concerned with sustainable habitat and a healthy wildlife population, noting that the agency is not in the habit of placing wildlife in sanctuaries. If Fish & Game wardens decide an animal is not acting normally, it will be taken down. In this case the lion was behaving oddly but not really threatening anyone, Sforza said.
"He didn't fit any of our usual polices," he said. "It was a very unusual case."
Weldy and Sforza don't know why the lion appears not to be fearful of people or other wildlife.
"He seems more passive than aggressive to me," Weldy said. "Maybe he was someone's pet, or an animal that was socialized or he has an underlying illness we're not aware of. But anyone who speculates is speaking without facts. The bottom line is the animal shows an abnormal behavior and he's best off not in the wilderness."
-------------------- They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.