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SANDY — A mountain lion captured near Jordan Commons died late Friday night from the effects of a tranquilizer.
"It just never came out of the effect of the drug," said Scott Root of the Department of Wildlife Resources. "It's uncommon to have wildlife pass away under sedation, but it does happen."
The cougar was first spotted around 8 a.m. Friday crossing 9400 South into the Jordan Commons area before two DWR officers sedated it with a tranquilizer gun near 9100 South and 100 East at about 9 a.m.
It was then loaded into a crate to be released into the wild in central Utah, away from the public and livestock, according to Root.
Root said the DWR typically tags or marks predators like mountain lions that have wandered into urbanized areas. Since it was the first reported sighting of this specific cougar, and because it didn't act aggressively, the DWR decided to prepare to release it into the wild.
DWR officials plan to take the body of the cougar to the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on Monday to see if internal factors contributed to its death.
The division suspects other causes might have contributed to the animal's death, especially since it came into the urbanized area in the first place, which is also uncommon.
"Sometimes even people don't do well with certain drugs in their system," Root said. "We want to get to the bottom of it and find out what happened."
He said he was hoping for a "win-win situation" in regards to freeing the animal and keeping the public safe. Biologists, Root said, handled the situation "by the book."
Contributing: Wendy Leonard and Brianna Bodily