Mountain lion saved in California wildfire dies from unknown causes

The female mountain lion was roughly 6 to 7 years old.Courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

A female mountain lion rescued in last year’s Bobcat Fire died from mysterious causes, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed, “not far” from where she was first rescued.

Her body was found “at the bottom of a deep canyon,” according to the department, and she was believed to have died Aug. 15. A field necropsy could not confirm her cause of death.

The mountain lion was first found in September, just weeks after the Bobcat Fire began its wreckage. She was found by a homeowner licking her severely burned paws in a backyard in Monrovia, a suburb in Los Angeles County located in the San Gabriel Valley. 

The cat, a roughly 6 to 7 year old female, was released in October 2020 out into the wild with a satellite tracking collar and was able to live out in the San Gabriel mountains for at least 10 months, the state agency said in a Facebook post. She was the first cat ever to be successfully treated and rescued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In the two instances she was seen via trail cameras, the Department of Fish and Wildlife reported, she appeared to be healthy in both  — including in one in which she was seen with a male cat.

The agency also notes that she successfully hunted deer after her release. 

But crucially, the mountain lion’s brief — but successful — post-recovery life is proof that mountain lions can inhabit human communities without any danger to either.

“[The] data we received from her collar shows that she successfully lived within the urban-wildland interface for nearly a year, without ever being involved in human-mountain lion conflict,” the Department of Fish and Wildlife said in the post.

Mountain lions in the wild can live up to 10 years, the agency said.

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