Cougar caught in Salt Lake City, released to the wild

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SALT LAKE CITY — A mountain lion that stalked Salt Lake's Foothill neighborhood Sunday afternoon was caught that evening after multiple sightings. On Monday, agents from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources released the animal into the wild.

The mountain lion was spotted by residents shortly before 3 p.m. near 2200 E. Kensington Ave., according to Salt Lake Police Lt. Carl Merino. Salt Lake police and officers from the Division of Wildlife Resources responded.

Crews cleared the scene after an unsuccessful 90-minute search. Thirty minutes later, they were called back after another resident in the same neighborhood said he saw the cat behind his garage.

Wildlife resources officers again responded and requested an officer who had a dart gun.

"The cat started running all over the neighborhood as we tried to close in on it," Merino said.

Officers began to chase the cat on foot and hit the mountain lion with a tranquilizer, but they lost the animal after it ran away and crossed Foothill Boulevard.

Another resident saw the cat on the sidewalk at 1600 S. Wasatch Drive turning east, and the resident told a neighbor, who flagged down a passing officer.

“We have about a 4- to 5-minute delay before the drugs take full effect,” said Mike Roach, conservation officer with Utah Department of Wildlife Resources.

“These animals are very healthy. They can jump over fences and they can move quite a long distance in 4 or 5 minutes.”

Officers ultimately located the cat, which fallen asleep in a yard, around 9 p.m.

Residents living in the area received a reverse 911 call advising them to stay indoors, but many ignored it.

“It seemed like there were a lot of people standing around watching,” said Mike Roach, conservation officer with Utah Department of Wildlife Resources.

Cougars usually don’t target humans, but they do go after pets. Still, Roach wants people to call 911 and stay indoors if they see a cougar.

The mountain lion was taken into custody by the Division of Wildlife Resources, which kept it overnight so its body heat could regulate after it was hit with the tranquilizer.

It was released into the wild sometime on Monday.


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