Rehabilitated Mountain Lion Returns to Wild in Santa Ana Mountains
A juvenile mountain lion who spent two weeks at our Ramona Wildlife Center under the care of our Project Wildlife team, was released back into the wild by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) late Thursday, July 29, 2021.
The 1-year-old sub-adult male lion arrived on July 13, 2021 after being captured by the CDFW in coordination with Mission Viejo Animal Services in Mission Viejo. There had been repeated reports of sightings in the Orange County neighborhood, leading wildlife officials to capture the mountain lion and bring him to our Ramona Wildlife Center for evaluation.
There, the Project Wildlife veterinary team performed a full exam under sedation that included lab work, X-rays and a dental exam. The patient was treated for parasites, given fluids and monitored by the care team to ensure he was ready to survive on his own in a more suitable area within his home territory.
Our Project Wildlife team in Ramona is the first in California to work under the direction of CDFW to rehab mountain lions with the intention of releasing them back into the wild.
“Mountain lions are in many communities in Southern California, but it is important to remember they need to remain wild at heart and not get comfortable around people — for everyone’s safety,” said Christine Barton, director of operations & wildlife rehabilitation at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Campus. “They are special predators and we are proud to have an expert team trusted by the state of California in this pilot program to care for the species here at the Ramona Wildlife Center.”
Project Wildlife is the primary resource for wild animal rehabilitation and conservation education in San Diego County. Each year, it gives nearly 13,000 injured, orphaned and sick wild animals a second chance.
Published: July 30, 2021