An adult female mountain lion was apparently tranquilized after it was seen roaming through the backyards of multiple homes in an Azusa neighborhood on Monday morning.
The cougar was first in the area of the 600 block of West Virginia Ann Drive sometimes before 7 a.m., according to the Azusa Police Department.
By 9 a.m., Sky5 aerial video showed her moving through the backyards of at least two homes. The big cat was observed jumping over hedges as it traversed the area, and — in a single leap — seemed to effortlessly hop on top of a shed in the quiet cul-de-sac, which is adjacent to a golf course.
At one point, she could be seen pawing on a door of a residence in an apparent effort to enter the single-story dwelling of 91-year-old Phyllis Camarena, a lifelong Azusa resident.
“And I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I grab my chair at the breakfast table, and I grab it and I put it here,” Camarena said, pointing to the inside of the door. “And … I locked the door real fast. And then I says, ‘You go home, go home.’”
Camarena’s neighbor, Deborah Moore, said she encountered the big cat while walking to her home after checking on a neighbor’s dog, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I was stunned and amazed at the beauty. I didn’t feel scared, it didn’t seem like it was aggressive,” Moore told the newspaper. “We just had a kind of staring contest and I didn’t want to take off and have it chase me or something.”
But when an officer approached, she said it ran into her backyard where it hid in a brushy, sheltered area behind a spa.
Along with police, California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens were dispatched to the neighborhood and a drone was deployed over the yard to help them monitor the puma, authorities said.
Some of the wardens were armed, apparently with tranquilizer guns, according to the aerial footage. By 9:40 a.m., the puma had been tranquilized.
“The officers and the Fish and Game warden … they wanted to make sure everybody was safe in the backyard and that they had a clear shot that was going to be effective,” Azusa Police Officer Mike Bires told KTLA after the animal’s capture.
The sleeping mountain lion was taken away to an awaiting black pickup truck, where the animal was subsequently placed in the back. The cougar’s condition was unknown, but officials noted she was blind in one eye and appeared to be malnourished.
They planned to release her somewhere back into the wild under the supervision of a biologist, but did not disclose the location. Police, meanwhile, would patrol the neighborhood for the remainder of the day to ensure resident safety, according to the officer.
Prior to being caught, the mountain lion had moved at least a couple of houses over from where it was initially spotted sometimes, and the nimble animal had been hunkered down behind some residences, Bires said in a video posted on the department’s Twitter account.
The neighborhood was essentially placed on lockdown, as residents were urged residents to stay indoors amid efforts to corral the cougar, according to Bires. Officers went door-to-door to spread the word.
“We’re just trying to contain the mountain lion and make sure (s)he doesn’t pose any threat to anybody’s safety,” he said in the video.
The area is located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, a natural habitat for the animals.
“That’s the thing. Our city is located right up along the base of the San Gabriel Mountains,” Bires told KTLA. “So people, developments, new home developments come and encroach onto their land. They kind of have nowhere else to go, it’s really not their fault.”