Mountain lion captured in Santa Ana neighborhood

Local news

A mountain lion was captured in a residential area in Santa Ana Saturday morning.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers, a helicopter and sheriff’s deputies responded to the 17300 block of Calvo Dive, after receiving reports of a mountain lion in the area.

The mountain lion was spotted in a backyard by the air crew, which directed Fish and Game wardens to its location before it was sedated outside a home.

“A lengthy foot pursuit ensued through the neighborhood until the mountain lion was safely tranquilized and taken into custody to be relocated back into the wild,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s air support unit wrote online.

“Anybody missing their cat?” the officials joked.

Jocelyn Kelly lives in the area, and she watched as the situation unfolded.

A mountain lion seen in a Santa Ana backyard on Dec. 26, 2020. (Orange County Sheriff's Department air support unit)
A mountain lion seen in a Santa Ana backyard on Dec. 26, 2020. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department air support unit)

“My neighbor texted me at eight o’clock this morning and said, watch your doggies because we just had a mountain lion in our backyard,” Kelly said.

Officers tied up and took the big cat onto an animal control van for transport, video showed. It’s unclear where it will be released.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

“It wasn’t really all that scary,” Kelly said. “They handled it so beautifully, that they didn’t make you afraid, and I am an animal lover so all I wanted to make sure is that they didn’t kill it.”

Kelly said she’s never seen a mountain lion in her neighborhood before.

“This definitely falls into the category of ‘we don’t see this everyday,'” the Sheriff’s Department said.

More than half of California is mountain lion habitat, and it’s not uncommon for them to wander into residential areas.

“Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people by nature,” California’s wildlife agency says. “However, as human population expands into mountain lion habitat, more frequent sightings may occur and human/mountain lion encounters may increase.”

Home owners are advised to “deer-proof” their landscaping by avoiding plants that deer like to eat so they don’t attract deer — mountain lions’ main source of food.

Here are some tips Californians should follow if they encounter a mountain lion:

  • Never approach a mountain lion. Give them an escape route.
  • Do not run. Running may trigger chase, catch and kill response. 
  • Do not turn your back on a mountain lion. Face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms, or opening your jacket if wearing one; throw rocks or other objects. 
  • Pick up small children.
  • Do not crouch down or bend over. 
  • Speak calmly and don’t use high pitched tones or high pitch screams. 
  • If a lion attacks, fight back. 

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