Cougar Discovered in Southern California Turkey Coop to Be Released

Cougar Discovered in Southern California Turkey Coop to Be Released

A mountain lion is fed at the zoo in Oakland, Calif. on April 16, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

5/2/2024

Updated: 5/2/2024

A mountain lion found trapped in a homeowner’s turkey coop in San Bernardino County will be released by state wildlife officials this week, and residents are being told to stay on alert and keep their pets safe.
The 112-pound male cougar was discovered April 27 on the 17000 block of Danbury Avenue in Hesperia, about 35 miles north of downtown San Bernardino. It was first seen by the property owner, city officials said in a recent Facebook post.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Hesperia Animal Control, and State Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the homeowner’s call, which was taken over by the Fish and Wildlife Department, officials said.
Initially wildlife officials determined the mountain lion wasn’t a threat to public safety and planned to release it, letting it find its way back home. But the cougar was too frightened to leave the makeshift coop, said department biologist Kevin Howells.
Some officials were concerned it might be injured, he said, so they decided to tranquilize it and release it after it was looked over by a veterinarian.
It wasn’t clear whether any turkeys were in the coop, but a picture posted on the city’s Facebook page shows an empty bag of scratch feed.
Officials said the cougar will be collared and released in the hills near Silverwood Lake, about 10 miles south of the city.
Residents were advised to remove anything from their yards that could attract the cougar.
“Residents are encouraged to bring small pets and animals indoors and to remove open water and food sources from yards,” a post from the city reads.
They also warned residents to be careful when outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk when mountain lions are most active. They said there is no “cause for alarm.”
A spokesperson for the Fish and Wildlife Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unknown if the cougar has been released yet.
In an interview with McClatchy News, Howells said homeowners who live near predator environments must secure their doors, especially to enclosures with food.
“In predator habitat you have to have your livestock secured,” he said. “It happens every day in the state of California. ... If there is an attractant and it’s unsecured within that animal’s habitat range, they can and will exploit it. The mountain lion wouldn’t have gotten in if the door was locked. Securing livestock greatly reduces the chance of human-wildlife conflict.”
According to the National Park Service, mountain lions are not a significant threat to people.
“There is a far greater risk, for example, of being killed in an automobile accident with a deer than of being attacked by a mountain lion,” park service officials said on their website.
They said mountain lions are usually elusive, calm, and quiet, and an attack can be avoided as long as you don’t bend over, crouch, or run. You should stay calm and quiet, back up slowly, throw rocks, and fight back if the lion attacks.
Residents are encouraged to report mountain lion sightings immediately to Animal Control at 760-947-1707.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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