IRVINE, Calif. -- A mountain lion that caused a big stir at an Irvine shopping center is now back in the wild.
The big cat was released in a canyon Wednesday and happily took off running.
On Tuesday, he was sedated and taken to Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital to be evaluated and treated.
"We are not lion, we had a purr-ty scary situation on our paws today," the Irvine Police Department said in a statement Tuesday. "IPD received reports of a mountain lion in the area of Sand Canyon and Irvine Center Drive. As our claw-enforcement officers arrived, the lion ran towards the shopping center nearly causing a fur-enzy as it is uncommon for a mountain lion to be seen in Irvine.
"Thankfully our officers are not scaredy cats and purr-sued the big kitty into a business area. We backed off and gave the two-year-old male some space while we gathered more resources."
Vets say the mountain lion is a healthy two-year-old male, which is usually the age they leave their mother and set out on their own.
In this case, he was likely looking for his own space and took a wrong turn into the business area.
"I've been doing this for way over 30 years and I've never had this opportunity to help out and do something in such a unique situation," Dr. Scott Weldy of Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital said. "So, it was a lot of fun and everything went smooth."
The big cat has now been tagged and given a collar so he can be tracked.