A young male mountain lion is resting comfortably in a private zoo after officials from the California department of Fishing and Game trapped and captured the big cat Tuesday morning.
The feline, which had first been spotted July 9 at the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, prompted officials to close the grounds the next day, according to the OC Register.
When the grounds re-opened last Friday, a hiker saw the mountain lion again and captured this video of a coyote barking at the cat. The mountain lion acts nonplussed at both the coyote and the filming human and walks away.
The cougar's casual demeanor is exactly what made the Fishing & Game department realize that it needed to be placed in captivity.
"Its presence in a populated area suggested it had become somewhat habituated and was not showing signs of being afraid of humans," said spokesperson Andrew Hughan in a statement. However, since the mountain lion never actually attacked anyone, there was no need to destroy him, the release explained.
At first, department officials tried to drive the mountain lion away Monday by firing beanbag rounds at the beast. When it didn't leave, officials set a baited trap Tuesday and were able to capture him.
For now, the mountain lion is being housed at the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound in Rosamond, Calif. Dr. Scott Weldy, a veteranarian at the facility, told the Los Angeles Times that the zoo would be happy to become a permanent home for the cat.
The facility's resident mountain lion had recently died of old age, explained Weldy. "He would be a good replacement."
In 2004, there were two mountain-lion related attacks at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. One man died and a woman was severely injured.
Photos of the moutain lion's initial capture courtesy of the California Department of Fish & Game.
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