Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trap Set To Catch Mountain Lion Roaming Hayward

A trap was set Friday afternoon in hopes of catching a mountain lion that has killed at least two animals in Hayward this week, officials said.

The first sighting occurred at 6:43 p.m. Sunday when a resident witnessed the mountain lion in the backyard of his home in the 1100 block of Garin Avenue, according to police. California Department of Fish and Game personnel viewed videotape provided by the resident and confirmed that the animal was a mountain lion.

Then, about 8 p.m. Wednesday, a resident in the 30000 block of Woodthrush Place reported a mountain lion killed a goat and dragged it away, police said. Officials confirmed that the goat was missing from the property.

Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano said that the department went to the residence Friday to discuss issuing a depredation permit, allowing the homeowner to have the mountain lion trapped or killed within 10 days if the mountain lion returns to the property.

However, Fish and Game officials determined that what was left of the goat carcass was too old to be used in a trap, so a permit was not issued.

Shortly afterward, a homeowner a few miles from Woodthrush Place reported that a mountain lion had killed a lamb, Martarano said. The homeowner apparently heard the mountain lion around 3 a.m., and officials believe the lamb was killed by the same mountain lion, Martarano said.

The county has a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services to trap animals in such cases, and the USDA notified Fish and Game to issue a depredation permit.

The permit was issued and the trap set with a lamb carcass inside, according to Martarano. The mountain lion would likely return overnight or early morning to feed on the carcass, he said.

The depredation permit allows officials to shoot the mountain lion after it is caught, he said.

Mountain lion attacks on people are rare, however officials are cautioning residents not to approach a mountain lion and instead head indoors and call 911.

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