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Mountain lion captured near two Rohnert Park schools will be euthanized

A mountain lion captured near two Rohnert Park schools earlier this week will be euthanized Thursday because of a neurological condition that is causing her health to deteriorate, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nicknamed Wobbly, the mountain lion has a chronic condition that causes her to walk off-balance and move slowly. Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Living with Lions project, which tracks big cats in the North Bay, has been following Wobbly since March.

Although Wobbly previously managed to hunt prey despite her condition, Living with Lions camera footage from the past several months shows that she has become more unsteady on her feet, said Ken Paglia, a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman. Since March, the 5-year-old mountain lion has lost 15 pounds.

“She’s not going to be able to survive in the wild,” Paglia said. “That’s essentially why we are making that decision.“

Paglia added that there often is limited room for mountain lions at rehabilitation centers.

“I think it was just a decision that was made based on circumstances and what was available,” he said.

California Fish and Wildlife veterinarians believe she likely has had the neurological condition since birth. It’s likely the condition was caused by an in utero infection of parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that can lead to serious disease.

A necropsy is planned, but even that may not provide definitive answers, according to California Fish and Wildlife.

Wobbly first was seen at about 8 a.m. Monday near the junction of Five Creek and Crane Creek trails in Rohnert Park. Evergreen Elementary School and Lawrence E. Jones Middle School were locked down for nearly three hours while authorities waited for the animal to leave the area.

When the mountain lion stayed put, Rohnert Park police called California Fish and Wildlife officials and Quinton Martins, a biologist who leads the Living With Lions project. Martins identified Wobbly, which the project named P26, tranquilized her and transported her to Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue and rehabilitation organization southwest of the city.

Since arriving at the center, Wobbly has displayed signs of lethargy and dehydration, according to Paglia.

“This is one of those things — even though its an unfortunate conclusion, everyone grouped together to do the best we could,” he said.

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