SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) – A young male mountain lion tranquilized and rescued after it was trapped for hours in an aqueduct near downtown Santa Cruz is being released into the wild today, a state Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman said.
The cat was first seen around 7 a.m. Later in the morning, it became trapped in the Branciforte Creek aqueduct near Water Street and May Avenue, police said.
Wildlife rescue crews from the University of California at Santa Cruz Puma Project were able to tranquilize the animal and it was transported to the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center.
Staff from Moss Landing-based WildLife Emergency Services provided equipment for the rescue, including netting to block escape routes at the creek after they were alerted about the situation by Santa Cruz authorities around 8 a.m., group president Rebecca Dmytryk said.
A veterinarian from the Department of Fish and Wildlife was also at the scene, Mackey said.
A staff member from WildLife Emergency Services helped the veterinarian and police personnel move the tranquilized animal into a crate, Dmytryk said.
“We were all working for the good of the animal as well as the safety of the people,” Dmytryk said.
The mountain lion weighs about 100 pounds and is healthy and in “very good condition,” Mackey said.
Dmytryk said the young mountain lion was likely a few years old. The mountain lion was taken to the center around 1 p.m. and was set for released later Thursday—after the effects of the tranquilizer wore off—into an undisclosed area of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mackey said.
No one was injured during the hours-long rescue effort, police said.
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