A mountain lion was tranquilized Tuesday afternoon after wandering into an Orcutt neighborhood, prompting a shelter-in-place advisory for residents in the area.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department deputies, along with county Animal Services staff and California Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives, worked to locate and corral the large cat on the 4300 block of Coachman Way.
Residents were asked to remain inside until the animal was safely captured.
The search began at approximatley 3 p.m. when authorities converged on the Foxenwood Estates subdivision upon receiving a report of the mountain lion sighting.
The cat was cornered just outside the front door in the yard of a residence and tranquilized for relocation to a remote area away from homes.
As officers worked to safely take the cat into custody, a large crowd of neighbors lined a sidewalk across from the mountain lion’s location to watch the activity. Other residents in the neighborhood walked dogs or pushed strollers.
Before being moved from the site, the male mountain lion, estimated to be a sub-adult, received a quick checkup from Animal Services staff, Fish and Wildlife’s Lt. Jamie Dostal said.
Fish and Wildlife staff relocated the cat to an open space area considered mountain lion habitat several miles away, Dostal added.
The state of California considers mountain lions to be “specially protected species” and prohibts hunting them except in rare circumstances.
While a population estimate isn’t available, prime mountain lion habitat can be found in more than half of California.
Typically, mountain lions can be found wherever deer are present, since deer account for the big cat’s main food source. State officials said foothills and mountains serve as the most suitable mountain lion habitat, while valleys and deserts are considered unsuitable.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.