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. The neighborhood is 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."

The cat first was spotted at 3 p.m. Sunday. Wildlife officials and police then 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. Then 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. It 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. Salt Lake City 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 they 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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  • Jason0421-YYCA
    9/25/2014 - 03:00 p.m.

    Wow! I think that it is amazing for a cougar to be found at Salt Lake City neighborhood. I think that the cougar was curious because the cougar was hanging around neighborhoods without hurting the citizens. I hope that the cougar was not injured during the time of capture. I also hope that the policemen didn't get hurt trying to capture the cougar with a tranquilizing dart.
    Critical thinking challenge: If the cougar was shot, why didn't it die?
    Answer: The cougar didn't die because a tranquilizing dart only makes the person/animal go to sleep.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    9/25/2014 - 03:00 p.m.

    I wonder why mountain lions are slowly coming down to the cities from the mountains. I think it is because there is not much food left in the mountains so the mountain lions are coming down to search for food. I am glad that not one person or pet got hurt. It must have been very tense feeling between the lion, the people, and the tranquilizers.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: If the cougar was shot, why didn't it die?
    Answer: The cougar didn't die because it was shot by a tranquilizing dart. So what it does is that it injects chemicals that makes the victim drowsy.

  • WalterBear-Ste
    9/25/2014 - 03:22 p.m.

    I think that if I was there I would be dead because it is not save to life where mountain lions live.
    In this case well I think that it did not died because they must have use the special bullets for wild animals.

  • ethanc-Orv
    9/25/2014 - 04:26 p.m.

    Critical thinking challenge: If the cougar was shot, why didn't it die? well i think that its probably an advance form of animal there is probably more out there but we haven't exploder the land that's full of them so we could have alot more than a cougar it could be a rhino.

  • levenicel-Orv
    9/25/2014 - 04:32 p.m.

    That would be scary. I can't believe that a 2yr old cougar can be that big. I can see a cougar taking a gun shot but it depends on where you hit him or her at. I am surprised that it didn't kill something or get into someone's house. The officer could of ticked off the cougar instead of tranquilizing it and he is lucky that he hit it.

  • jortega0623
    9/25/2014 - 04:46 p.m.

    I chose this article because me sister has told me about it and I wanted to see ,hear and learn more about the mountain lion.

  • afernandez0623
    9/25/2014 - 04:49 p.m.

    This story is intresting to me because a week ago somthing like this happened in my hometown of Turlock. On the news it said that a cougar was loose also. I think that there is a possobility that we might see more coming into towns.

  • scastaneda0623
    9/25/2014 - 04:55 p.m.

    The cougar or the monition lion as some people like to call it could not have died because it was a tranquilizing dart that cougar got shot wtih. For those who don't know what a tranquilizing dart is a dart that contains a chemicals that could make something go to sleep for up to 12 hours it can not kill a animal unless it gets to many darts.

  • mtoor0623
    9/25/2014 - 05:04 p.m.

    It is a good thing that she was released back into the wild. I'm glad she didn't die because you shouldn't just kill an animal because your afraid of it, you should have the authorities capture it and they will release it where it will have enough food and water.

  • zchavez0623
    9/25/2014 - 05:09 p.m.

    The cougar didn't die because then how did they release to the wild. Also,I would be so scared if there was a cougar wandering around town like that. Those people must be really brave,or there used to it.

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