Officials catch cougar roaming Utah neighborhoods At left, a young cougar is released back into Utah's mountains by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in an undisclosed site in central Utah (- AP photo / ThinkStock)
Officials catch cougar roaming Utah neighborhoods

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A young mountain lion was let back into the wild Monday, a day after roaming into a Salt Lake City neighborhood and forcing dozens of families to stay inside their homes for hours.

No people or pets were injured, but the hunt for the 2-year-old cougar caused quite a commotion in the neighborhood just a few miles from the base of the Wasatch Mountains.

"For some people, it's pretty traumatic. Other people get excited when a cougar visits town," said Scott Root, spokesman for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "It depends on your perspective."

After the cat first was spotted at 3 p.m. Sunday, wildlife officials and police set up a perimeter around four blocks of homes. A Reverse 911 call went out, telling people to stay inside while the search for the cougar continued. Officers searched backyards and talked to residents about what they had seen.

Three hours later, they still hadn't been able find the cat, until a resident called to tell them he saw it on a neighbor's driveway. Officials spotted it there, but it still took them nearly two hours to hit it with a tranquilizing dart.

"Cougars kind of hole in nooks and crannies and the first one was a really tight shot," Root said. "We got it the second time."

After being shot, she was found sleeping in a heavily wooded front yard, Root said. The cat, which weighs about 80 pounds, survived the night and was released Monday in an undisclosed location in central Utah, he said. It was tagged so officials know if she comes back into the city.

This was the second recent mountain lion capture in the Salt Lake City metro area, which sits between two major mountain ranges.

In June, authorities captured a mountain lion that wandered into a shopping center in the suburb of Sandy. It was found hunkered down at the entrance of a steakhouse. Nobody was hurt, but the sighting spooked dozens of people arriving to work.

Authorities say cougars generally avoid humans but sometimes enter neighborhoods close to their mountain habitats. The ones who wander into residential neighborhoods are usually young and often malnourished or injured, Root said.

Critical thinking challenge: If the cougar was shot, why didn't it die?

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  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    9/25/2014 - 09:07 a.m.

    I know that the cougar could have been harmful to many people. But did they really have to shoot it with a tranquilizer? there has to be a better way to get rid of it.

  • MFrancisco-Sti
    9/25/2014 - 09:29 a.m.

    Is the cougar fine now. Why was the cougar in the Salt Lake City neighborhood anyway. How did they bring the cougar back to the wild?

  • JSteven-Sti
    9/25/2014 - 09:39 a.m.

    I think this article is amazing when I'm older i will get my license to have a lynx and a mountain lion ill train to be very well behaved then after it is all grown up i will release it into the wild to roam around free with its animals. Perhaps when the animal is younger it will be my house guard so if any burglar breaks in it will attack the intruder.

    Critical Thinking Challenge Answer: The reason for the cougar not being dead was because it was shot with a tranquilizer which only puts the animal or human to sleep for a while the cougar was shot at twice but was only hit the second time i could understand it dieing is because if it was shot multiple times and hit multiple times it would put the animal to sleep forever. Then who ever killed it would get a fine because that is killing a endangered species. The fine would be about $ 250 and that person will probably got to prison for at least five to ten years and then i would be sad because mountain lions and lynx's are my favorite animal.

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    9/25/2014 - 09:41 a.m.

    If a cougar came into my town, I would be both freaked out and excited. I would be freaked out because it could hurt, or potentially kill, my family and I. I would be excited because cougars don't come around very often, so it would be really cool to see on (from a safe distance).

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    9/25/2014 - 09:42 a.m.

    I am aware that cougar's occasionally wander into resitential areas. I was not aware, however, that those that do are usually younger. For this, this begs the question, if a young cougar can stir up this much trouble in a residential area, how much trouble could a fully grown cougar cause?

  • MJade-Sti
    9/25/2014 - 09:44 a.m.

    Utah had a wild cat problem. A two year old cougar was found in Utah. I wounder how the cat got to Utah? Root said "cougars don't usually wounder into neighborhoods close to their mountain habitats. The only reason the wander into neighborhoods because the are malnourished or injured." It took more than three hours to catch the cougar.

  • BColton-Sti
    9/25/2014 - 09:47 a.m.

    I wonder how many cougars roam into towns and neighborhoods a year. Will the number of cougars keep increasing over the years or will the number go down but over all this was pretty cool to find out.

  • RSydnee-Sti
    9/25/2014 - 09:54 a.m.

    A mountain lion was found roaming in a neighborhood. This was the second recent mountain lion capture in Salt Lake City metro area. This is important because there has already been 2 who knows how many there will be in the future. People will be more protective of their kids now.

  • klai
    9/25/2014 - 10:17 a.m.

    A cougar has been seen in Utah roaming the neighborhood. It's an interesting sight but also dangerous. The lion eventually went to a shopping center where is was captured. It was tranked and returned home.

  • christophert20
    9/25/2014 - 10:18 a.m.

    This is a crazy i cant belive that A couger would be so close to a neighborhood thiis close to house. and the little couger was only two years old and also it was shot and didnt die so that goes to show dont underestimate animals.

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