An 80- to 100-pound mountain lion was removed from the backyard of a Pasadena home and taken for medical evaluation, authorities said Friday.
The mountain lion was spotted about 6:20 p.m. Thursday outside the residence in the 1600 block of Lake Avenue, according to Pasadena city officials.
Police set up a perimeter around the home, and Animal Control and California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers arrived and safely removed the mountain lion, officials said. No injuries were reported.
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According to Lisa Derderian of the city of Pasadena, the animal appeared to be sick and may have been looking for water in the residential neighborhood, which is several miles from the foothills.
The cat was to be medically evaluated, and it could be tagged for identification and tracking purposes before being released into the wild, Derderian said.
The mountain lion population is high in California, relative to other parts of the United States. Density estimates vary, but the figure might be as high as 10 lions per 100 square miles. By that estimate, the population is somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions statewide.
But it's difficult to say whether that population is increasing or decreasing without an ongoing statewide study.
One thing is certain -- mountain lions go where they can find food, primarily deer. That sometimes brings them into urban areas, but it should be noted that a person is 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a mountain lion, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There have been only 16 verified mountain lion attacks in California since 1890, six of which were fatal, according to the agency.
The department receives hundreds of reports each year about mountain lions killing pets and livestock.
Mountain lions are a specially protected species in California under the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990, approved as Prop 117 by California voters. The classification has nothing to do with mountain lion numbers in California, but its passage made it illegal to hunt the big cats.