Mountain lion tranquilized after being trapped in Santa Cruz aqueduct
SANTA CRUZ — A young mountain lion trapped for several hours in an aqueduct near May Avenue in Santa Cruz was tranquilized about 12:30 p.m Thursday.
Santa Cruz police and members of the Puma Project at UCSC and WildRescue of Moss Landing and state Fish and Wildlife officials spent hours at the aqueduct Thursday morning, first hoping to coax the mountain lion to move back to its habitat through the aqueduct.
Deputy Chief Steve Clark said, “Good dart hit” after Chris Wilmers of the Puma Project successfully tranquilized the untagged adolescent puma. Wilmers and his crew planned to crate the mountain lion, but had to hit it with a second tranquilizer as it got up and staggered toward the bushes. Wilmers hopes to blindfold and evaluate the puma before relocating it.
Officers had set up a perimeter around the area and asked residents to remain inside.
The mountain lion was first reported at 4 a.m. to emergency dispatchers, who alerted Fish and Wildlife authorities. At 7 a.m. dispatchers received a handful of calls from residents in the Water Street and May Avenue area alerting them to the mountain lion. The lion jumped into the concrete aqueduct, which is about 15 to 20 feet deep and became trapped. It attempted to jump out of the aqueduct unsuccessfully.
WildRescue officials put up big nets to keep the mountain lion contained.
The Puma Project tracks mountain lions throughout the region. See their results at http://santacruzpumas.org/puma-tracker/.
REVIVE ADMIN NOTE: I’d be very interested in just how high that cougars jump was, it looks incredible in the surveillance photo!