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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COMMENTS (38)
  • colleenl-Ste
    9/25/2014 - 01:10 p.m.

    If a cougar was running around in my town, I would stay inside my house like many others did in this town. I would probably be really freaked out if I was letting my dogs out and all of a sudden I saw a cougar standing 10 feet away. I'm glad authorities easily captured it and released it back into the wild so it can be in its natural habitat.

  • GrantW-2
    9/25/2014 - 07:56 p.m.

    A cougar began to wander in a neighborhood in Utah. It forced many people to stay inside their homes. Eventually the cougar was shot with a tranquilizer dart which put him to sleep. I know i would be really scared if a mountian lion showed up in my neighborhood.

  • Cs2001Tardis
    9/26/2014 - 01:08 p.m.

    The cougar was shot with a tranquilizing dart, so it just slept. It didn't die because of this. I always wanted to see a cougar in real life, but it would be scary it see a real life cougar walking down your driveway.

  • jarredc-Koc
    9/26/2014 - 05:04 p.m.

    It is dangerous for people when a cougar comes into a neighborhood. It isnt only dangerous for the people though. It is even more dangerous for the cougar. A "heroic" citizen could do something stupid to endanger there life and the cougars life as well. It is a unique experience, though, when nature finds a way to interact with society.

  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    9/27/2014 - 02:31 p.m.

    I'm glad I don't have to worry about finding a cougar in my backyard. I would be pretty nervous to take a walk in the woods or even in a spot where there aren't to many houses, if I lived in Salt Lake City. It would be very scary to hear that there was a cougar running around in the neighborhood. If the cougar had wandered into the city because it were hurt I would have a really hard time resisting to go help it. It's weird because I think that even if I saw an animal that could kill me was hurt I would still want to help it.

  • KBrian-Cas
    9/27/2014 - 07:18 p.m.

    The cougar that got shot didn't die because its was a tranquilizing gun. Its only passes out for a couple hours and does not die or harm the animal.It allows them to bring the cougar back into the wilderness.

  • BMegan-Cas
    9/27/2014 - 10:14 p.m.

    The cougar was shot with a tranquilizer dart so the cougar would not get injured and have the risk of killing the animal. The tranquilizer dart made it safer for the wildlife forces and the police to move the cougar out of the neighborhood and back into the wild, while also allowing the tag to be attached safely. But, if the amount of dosage is wrong, there is the chance of the cougar waking up while it is being moved if the dosage was too small, or there is a danger of killing the animal if the dosage is too high.

  • dallass-Koc
    9/28/2014 - 09:43 p.m.

    I would be really excited if I heard there was a cougar in my neighborhood. I would want to go find it just to see how one would look up close. Of course I would be a little scared but I wouldn't let that hold me back from seeing one.

  • jm117-Sch
    9/28/2014 - 09:58 p.m.

    In response to "Officials Catch Cougar Roaming Utah Neighborhoods," I think that even though it may be a cool thing to see, I would be nervous. One reason I would be nervous is that I have dogs and horses, so I would be afraid for their safety. Another reason is that it could hurt people too, especially little kids playing on their front lawn. It says in the article that authorities say cougars generally avoid humans, but I would still be nervous. A third reason is that my dogs would see it and chase after it, and they could be in danger if that were to happen. Even though the cougar is a cool animal, I still would not want it wandering around my neighborhood.

  • amanq-Koc
    9/28/2014 - 10:05 p.m.

    This situation can be seen from many different perspectives. The cougar may be seen as a dangerous animal but in most cases they would rather stay away from humans than attack us. This can easily be seen as the fault of mankind because to keep up with growing populations we build into these animals' homes. It is actually quite a sad thing to see an animal desperate for food being terrorized by mankind.

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