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Mountain lion captured in O.C. park to be held indefinitely

July 18, 2012 |  9:41 am

A 100-pound male mountain lion trapped after repeatedly seen stalking a south Orange County wilderness park will be kept in captivity indefinitely, possibly until it can be relocated, officials said.

The mountain lion was captured in Whiting Ranch Wilderness park early Tuesday.

Capt. Dan Sforza of the California Department of Fish and Game said the mountain lion was exhibiting “very unusual behavior” and appeared abnormally unfazed by humans.

PHOTOS: Mountain lion captured in O.C. park

Initially, park officials thought the cat was a mother with kittens nearby. It turned out to be a male.

A Fish and Game warden summoned to the park Monday spotted the mountain lion on Serrano Cow Trail, a favorite route with mountain bikers. The warden shot the animal with beanbag rounds, and after that failed, a pepper ball. Finally, it skulked into some brush.

“This is not the type of behavior we like to see in a lion,” Sforza said.

The warden baited a metal cage, waited, and shortly after midnight Tuesday, the mountain lion was trapped.

While the wilderness park is now open, Serrano Cow Trail remains closed.

Officials are concerned the animal is young enough that it could have been with a mother or sibling. Additional cameras have been set up in the foothills.

In the meantime, a Lake Forest veterinarian who examined the mountain lion reported that everything seemed normal with the animal.


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-- Christine Mai-Duc in Orange County

Photo: A 100-pound male mountain lion rests in a cage at the Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital in Lake Forest after being trapped Tuesday in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times