A mountain lion whose paws were badly burned in the Bobcat Fire was released into the wild last weekend after a month of treatment, wildlife officials said.
A homeowner had found the 7-year-old female mountain lion licking her injured paws in his backyard in Monrovia, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The big cat was taken to a team of state wildlife and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine staff for treatment, along with a pair of black bears that were also injured in fires across the state.
“This is the first time we have actually rehabilitated and released a mountain lion in the state of California,” Dr. Deana Clifford of California Department of Fish and Wildlife said.
Vets nursed the mountain lion back to health, and because of her age and condition, biologists knew she would be an ideal candidate to reintroduce back into the wild.
“This is the goal. She’s a wild creature and the goal is for her not to be in that cage — it’s to be back here and that is really gratifying,” Clifford said.
State wildlife biologist Amelia Viera called the big cat’s journey through treatment to release “the ultimate success story.”
The Bobcat Fire erupted in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa on Sept. 6 and ripped through more than 115,00 acres, destroying 87 homes in its path.
A 370-pound male black bear whose feet were badly burned in a North Complex fire in Butte County was released back into the wild this month as well, officials said.