OC Mountain Lion Captured, Has Surgery as Whiting Ranch Trail Re-opened

The full-grown mountain lion was spotted repeatedly near the Serrano Cow Trail in the Limestone Canyon/Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

By Sharon Bernstein
|  Tuesday, Jul 17, 2012  |  Updated 2:26 PM PDT
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A coyote barks at a mountain lion near a popular hiking trail.

Youtube

A coyote barks at a mountain lion near a popular hiking trail.

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A mountain lion who wandered on to a hiking trail in Orange County is in a veterinary hospital recovering from surgery, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game said Tuesday.

The animal, a 100-pound male about two years old, was spotted Friday and Monday by hikers and a bicyclist at the Limestone Canyon/Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Lake Forest.

He was captured and tranquilized Monday night, and on Tuesday, officials re-opened the trail.

Fish and Game wardens took the mountain lion to the Serrano animal hospital after the capture, where the veterinarian "felt it needed something fixed" and performed surgery, said Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan. He did not say why the mountain lion required surgery, or what type of operation it was.

After the mountain lion recovers, he will be sent to a facility for animals that cannot be released back into the wild, Hughan said.

Video shot over the weekend by a hiker shows the mountain lion near the Serrano Cow Trail in the Limestone Canyon/Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Lake Forest.

In the video, which was posted on Youtube, the mountain lion strides into the scene near the trail. A coyote barks at it, apparently in an effort to get the big cat to leave.

The large park consists of about 4,300 acres of wooded canyons, rolling hills and steep slopes covered with sage and chaparral.

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