Saturday, November 18, 2006

Police kill mountain lion in Central California downtown

Posted 11/17/06

BAKERSFIELD - Police killed a mountain lion in downtown San Luis Obispo this morning. At about the same time, wildlife scientists checked a Bakersfield bike path for signs of a mother lion and cubs.

There have been repeated reports of the lions on the bike path west of the Stockdale Highway bridge over the Kern River, west of Cal State. On Tuesday, a Bakersfield Police animal control officer found a paw print that was approximately 4 inches across; but a Department of Fish and Game biologist said this morning the print probably belonged to a large dog.

A number of joggers, walkers and bikers say they have seen a full grown mountain lion and two cubs on the path during the last two weeks. A spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game said it would be unusual, but not unheard of, for the big cats to be in that area.

Another spokesman recalled an incident a couple years ago where residents were certain they spotted a lion near Enos Lane and the river, but it turned out they were seeing a neighbor's golden retriever. It wasn't a dog that so many people saw in downtown San Luis Obispo this morning.

Shortly after 7:40 a.m. the large animal was spotted in front of the SLO City Hall. It lunged at its reflection in a glass door before heading into nearby residential neighborhoods.

Police were afraid the lion would hurt someone. Shortly after 8:30 a.m., an officer standing on the roof of a building across the street from the city's police station shot and killed the cat.

The animal was described as approximately two years old. DFG officers took the carcass for examination. E7FB114B-689F-4BF3-8940-220E99EB39A2

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