Southern California breaking news and trends

Cougar caught in OC park will live in captivity

cougar coyote

Screenshot via YouTube

Department of Fish and Game officials shut down an OC wilderness park on Monday night after catching wind of a video shot on Sunday of a non-camera shy cougar sauntering across a hiking trail in front of a flustered coyote.

The OC Register reported that a 100-pound male mountain lion was trapped in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park early Tuesday and evaluated by veterinarian Scott Weldy at the Serrano Animal Hospital in Lake Forest. Weldy said the cat was calm and in good shape, but that the number of ticks on the animal "seems a little unusual." Blood tests were being conducted.

Game wardens were hoping to relocate the mountain lion which did not turn tail even after beanbag-type rounds were fired in an effort to scare it off, said OC Parks spokeswoman Marisa O'Neil. The animal did not show signs of aggression, but it was also not frightened by humans, said officials.

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Of coyotes and cougars: What the human saw on a SoCal hiking trail

cougar coyote

Screenshot via YouTube

In the comments of an OC Register story on Monday about how mountain lions are like sharks, why you shouldn't pretend you're a turkey, and what do in case of a cat encounter (do: paint eyes on the back of your hats and make loud noises, don't: turn your back and run) a reader posted a link to a remarkable video uploaded Sunday by YouTube user Robert Meyer.

Even with the apparent increase in -- and sometimes disasterous results of -- person/puma run-ins, Meyer's footage stands in delicious contrast to the by-and-large infrequency of humans seeing mountain lions. The video appears to document a coyote, possibly in distress, barking with purpose as the largest of the small cats saunters into frame on a hiking trail. 

Writes Meyer, "At 7 a.m. on July 15, 2012, this coyote was recorded driving off a mountain lion in Orange County, California. This video was taken on the Serrano Road trail of Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park just south of the Dreaded Hill Road trail."

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Puma killing prompts procedure change for Santa Monica police

mountain lion santa monica

Photo by Santa Monica Police Department via PatrickNBCLA/Twitter

Santa Monica police have responded to the controversial fatal shooting of a puma last month by revising the department's procedure for handling free-roaming wildlife in an urban setting.

Officers, activists and veterinarians met with Fish and Game and National Park Service reps this week to discuss a new approach to animal encounters, and "the inherent risks and the reasonableness of those methods when applicable in real-life scenarios," the police department said in a release.

Acknowledging public safety as the primary consideration, as well as the value of safe capture of wildlife, the focus group produced a plan to provide officers with additional training, and to provide the department with specialized equipment to aid in future scenarios.

The Santa Monica Police Department has committed to:

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