Mountain lion tranquilized in San Francisco to be released in wild

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Police perched on rooftops in San Francisco's Diamond Heights neighborhood for hours on Friday, but they were not searching for a bad guy or even a person at all.

All the commotion was over wildlife in the city -- a mountain lion that made itself right at home mere feet from the doorstep of an apartment complex.

Department of Fish and Wildlife officials tranquilized a mountain lion on Friday between two apartment complexes on Diamond Heights Boulevard in San Francisco. They say it's an 82-pound male, approximately 18 months old.

They think the animal may have been looking for a new home when it got lost in San Francisco.

TIMELINE: This week's San Francisco mountain lion sightings
EMBED More News Videos

Mountain lion sightings in San Francisco proper are incredibly rare, with more happening in the last week than in the last century.

"My roommate called me and said, 'hey there's a mountain lion prowling,'" said Jerome Hawkins.

For hours, San Francisco police monitored the lion from the ground and from a rooftop with guns drawn.

"It's crazy out here right now," said Hawkins.

Officers let Diamond Heights Village residents know to keep the area clear. At one point during the afternoon, police created a road block on Diamond Heights Boulevard.

"More like something you would see in the Sierra (than) here than San Francisco," said Peter Swearengen, referring to the apartment complex surrounded by lush vegetation.

It may explain why the lion wandered to the area.

"They do what's called dispersal where they try to find their own territory," said Fish and Wildlife Warden Lt. James Ober, who traveled from San Mateo.

Ober fired two tranquilizing darts after he says the initial shot created too much stimulation for the lion.

VIDEO: What to do if you come face-to-face with a mountain lion
EMBED More News Videos

Mountain lions have been spotted in several parts of the Bay Area. Here's what you should do if you come face-to-face with a wild cat.

"It went very well," said Ober. "The mountain lion was not injured."

According to Ober, it's normal for an animal to twitch from the medication. And the mask officials placed over the lion's face is used to reduce stimulation and keep the lion's eyes from drying out due to blinking.

The UC Santa Cruz Puma Project will put a radiocollar on the lion so they can track and monitor it.

"From what I've heard, they have permission from Crystal Springs area to do a release," said Amy Gotliffe, who is with the Oakland Zoo.

Officials do not yet know if the lion near the Presidio captured on Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff's surveillance video earlier this week is the same lion they tranquilized Friday.

Click here for the latest stories about mountain lions.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.