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Mountain lion released after capture in Santa Rosa neighborhood

The 10-month-old mountain lion was captured Tuesday night when it lingered in a northeast Santa Rosa neighborhood.|

California Fish and Wildlife officials on Wednesday night released a mountain lion that they captured the previous night when it lingered in a northeast Santa Rosa neighborhood.

Veterinarians at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue center gave the animal “a clean bill of health” after an evaluation on Wednesday, said Ken Paglia, a California Fish and Wildlife spokesman.

The mountain lion is a 10-month-old male that weighs about 50 pounds.

“Around that age, there’s the possibility it was still under the care of its mother,” Paglia said. “That was one of the factors in our decision to release it.”

Paglia said the animal was released into “nearby suitable habitat.” But he declined to specify the location, saying he didn’t “want to cause any more problems for the lion or for the people who are involved.”

The mountain lion was tranquilized and brought to the rescue center near Rohnert Park after he was spotted at about 10 p.m. Tuesday in a front yard near the intersection of St. Francis Road and De Soto Drive.

The animal stayed put in the front yard when Santa Rosa police arrived. Officers pointed lights at the animal in hopes of getting him to leave the area, but he didn’t move, according to Sgt. Chris Mahurin.

Because mountain lions normally run away when humans are present, officials decided to take him to the center for a health assessment, Mahurin said.

A biologist with the wildlife research organization True Wild looped a collar with a GPS tracking device around the mountain lion’s neck before he was released on Wednesday, according to Paglia. The animal had not previously been tracked.

Last week, a mountain lion that was captured in Rohnert Park met a different fate after an evaluation at the rescue center.

The 5-year-old mountain lion was tranquilized and taken to the center after it was spotted in a creek bed near Evergreen Elementary and Lawrence E. Jones Middle schools, prompting the lockdown of both campuses. The animal did not leave when police and wildlife officials arrived.

The mountain lion was identified as Wobbly, a 5-year-old female with a chronic neurological disorder that caused her to walk slowly and struggle with balance. A True wild researcher had been tracking her with a GPS collar for several months.

Wobbly was euthanized after a veterinarians found that her disorder was causing her health to deteriorate.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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