Mountain lion captured in downtown Mountain View

Animal tranquilized, taken to undisclosed location following search around Rengstorff Park

A game warden safely tranquilized a mountain lion near a residential area in Mountain View near Rengstorff Park on Tuesday night, police said.

A report of a mountain lion sighted in the 200 block of South Rengstorff Avenue near Central Expressway prompted officers to set up a perimeter around 6:45 p.m., police said.

The mountain lion was cornered to the 2000 block of California Street and the game warden from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife was on scene as of 10 p.m., according to police.

As of about 11:30 p.m., the mountain lion was tranquilized and transported to an undisclosed location, police said.

Residents in the area were advised to stay indoors and call 911 if they saw the mountain lion, according to police.

Officers the Palo Alto and Los Altos police departments and Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety assisted Mountain View police.

Police said the mountain lion was reported to have a radio-type collar around its neck. Officers have reached out to local wildlife researchers to try to learn who tagged the mountain lion.

— Bay City News Service


Posted by Hi Nature!, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 7, 2014 at 9:51 am

I hope they share the data that was on the collar. I'd be interested to see his travels.

Posted by Chick-fil-haay!!!, a resident of Gemello
on May 7, 2014 at 9:54 am

Maybe it was protesting the city council's approval of renovating the park.

Posted by ChrisH, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 7, 2014 at 10:09 am

A big Thank You to our MV police and the Game Warden for keeping this situation under control and keeping this beautiful creatures alive! It is probably one from the Santa Cruz Project.

Posted by NW Resident, a resident of North Whisman
on May 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

I think the headline is a bit misleading, since I don't consider the Rengstorff Park area to be "downtown MV."

Thanks to the allied police agencies and game wardens who kept nearby residents safe and also treated the big cat humanely and safely.

Maybe the cat was trying to find the IFES hall to meet Sheriff Joe... but that's another story.

Posted by Déjà vu, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 7, 2014 at 10:23 am

This duplicates an existing story updated this morning, with its own set of clever comments already. Web Link

Posted by Pilar, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 7, 2014 at 10:53 am

Can somebody please tell me how a 120 lb. mountain lion can walk down Rengstorff Ave., cross California Ave. and enter an apartment garage. What if there were children on the street? Heck, anybody on the street. How was this animal not being traced through the tracking tag? This is frightening . Where were the authorities from the beginning of the lions stroll?

Posted by Pilar, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

I just got my answer. Google this : How does a mountain lion walk through a neighborhood? Color me shocked.

Posted by Kathy, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on May 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

It's pretty easy for a Mountain Lion to travel via the creek beds. Maybe he came down on streets, traveling through yards - but it would have been really easy for him to just follow the water trickling down through the creeks. I'm sure dogs barked at him, but no one else bothered him until he came up to street level. Just a theory.

Posted by ChrisH, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Web Link

Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Maher is a registered user.

So glad of this outcome... rather than some hysteria driven killing (which often is the male brain's default dynamic) of this endangered species.

These cats are mostly shy of people and kill for food not for fun or frivilously.

This care-full result is diametrically different from a similar incident in Menlo Park last year I think it was, where the mountain lion was 'treed' and going nowhere but the Dept of Fish and Wildlife authorities/experts killed him anyway.

I wrote a seetheing letter to the head of that dept and got a form letter reply about the gage of danger needs. Not a sufficient answer to the details of the situation was my thought. This is a better default for how to deal with encounters with our wild neighbors who've done no damage.

Posted by Female Brain, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

@Maher, it was in Palo Alto 10 years ago when the Mnt Lion was shot. It was a FEMALE Chief of Police, Lynn Johnson, who defended the shooting by saying "... people's safety should come before animals".

Get over your chromosomal rage and learn how to see the world beyond your male-bashing default dynamic.

Posted by Underlying sexist remark, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm

" rather than some hysteria driven killing (which often is the male brain's default dynamic)"
Um, I would invite you to visit my house when my daughter or wife spots a larger than average sized spider on the wall. You're opinion on the genders and their specific propensity to kill will evolve and you'll grow as a person.

Also, mountain lions are listed as neither "Endangered" or "Threatened".
They do have, and should continue to have special protection status.
You probably knew that though.

Posted by mary, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I am so pleased and grateful to our MV police and the Game Warden for keeping M46 alive.
They probably never guessed in a million years they would get this call when they reported in for work yesterday!
Great job!

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Good lord.. I live within walking distance of Rengstorff Park. By the helicopters overhead and the number of cop cars you'd have thought Bin Laden was hiding in that carport.

I think the police endangered more lives racing around with sirens blaring than the mountain lion.

A green truck with the words "Game Warden" painted on the side was moving at a high rate of speed down Central Expressway.. and proceeded to miss the turn onto Rengstorff. I guess he was too excited to finally be able to use his lights and sirens for real.

Posted by erika c., a resident of another community
on May 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Mahr says: "These cats are mostly shy of people and kill for food not for fun or frivilously."

Since when did a mountain lion become shy?

They do kill for food, that is why they look for small children and others that they can eat.
Humans come first, if it just roaming about on the street, then they should kill it. Tranquillizing would only make it crazy.

Majestic? beautiful? I'd like to see you in a cage with one when its feeding time and then lets see how beautiful they can be.

Posted by Donna, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Thank You Mountain View Police for safely resolving this.

Posted by Linda, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Thank you to all who safely captured and relocated the mountain lion.

Posted by Rossta, a resident of Waverly Park
on May 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

Is this a first? Police manage to be patient and wait for a game warden and the mountain lion lives? I think it is. Congratulations MVPD on a job well done!
I have great fear (respect) of cougars, but don't want to see any injured. They are truly shy and avoid humans as best they can - how many people have ever seen one? How many cougars do you think have seen you? Despite the fact that we share land with these creatures, there are remarkably few encounters. Way more killings by shark and we spend little time in the water, but comparison.
Check out this list of fatal attacks: Web Link
Surely not complete, but it tries to be.

Posted by Martin Omander, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

A big thank you to MVPD and the Game Warden for safely getting this animal out of Mountain View without killing it! Well done!

Before anyone gets too concerned about being eaten by a mountain lion, please remember that these animals have killed 3 people in North America since 2000. Cars have killed about half a million people in the same time. It's pretty clear to me how the authorities should prioritize their time.


Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Here is the email I sent to Scott Vermeer, Chief of Police:


Hat's off to you and your team for successfully saving the life of the Mountain Lion.

MVPD's restraint stands out in sharp contrast to other area departments. TV newscasters also pointed this out.

Posted by Sterling, a resident of Rex Manor
on May 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

MVPD, you've set a fantastic example of how to stay cool under fire, and I am really proud of your efforts, wisdom, and resolution. Although Rengstorff Park and the apartment building are nigh traffic areas, your level-headed approach, including closing the gate to the parking area and calling in Fish and Game to tranquilize the cat were spectacular.

In 2004 Palo Alto PD shot and killed a mountain lion out of a tree - because of "children" in the area. It was a knee-jerk reaction, and their excuse was that the cat might come down and run away and the wouldn't be able to find him. Palo Alto Animal Services does not have dart guns, and one of the excuses was that it would take too long to find anyone who could get a tranquilizer gun and be able to anesthetize the animal.

In a follow-up article about last night's terrific work, it was noted that the animal went down in approximately 1.5 minutes - and it was clear from the photo that he was frightened. Next time Palo Alto has a wild animal of some kind, I hope they'll remember to call on Mountain View PD for a solution and tremendous outcome for all. Super great - thank you Moutain View PD.

Posted by Scarlet, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm

The on-line updates and handling of the Mountain Lion in Mountain View was exemplary. Good job everyone!! And the story made CBS World News Tonight!

Posted by PurrrfectEnd, a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 7, 2014 at 9:04 pm

In 2012, two mountain lion cubs were shot and killed in Half Moon Bay.

Web Link

Thank you MVPD for both maintaining public safety and protecting the lion. Exemplary outcome!

Posted by mike, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 7, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Local tv showed a gps track of the cat from the Santa Cruz mountains through Los Altos Hills to Rengstorff park over a several day period. Does anyone else wonder why they didn't capture the cat before the public reported it?

Posted by BadCats, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2014 at 6:07 am

The lion is attracted by the large number of feral and free-running pet cats. When will we smarten up and pass some regulations?

The number of feral cats are on the rise. However, the number of feral cats brought into shelters are lower. Why? The Trap and Release programs capture ferals, but if they are tagged or are in poor condition, they are not brought in.
This is why the numbers from the shelters cannot be trusted and you have to do wildlife transections to get a more precise count.

This is rarely done due to the expense, however when it has been done, it showed the numbers rising and how the so-called territorialism of ferals keeping other ferals away was false.

Hopefully, this will be the last lion attracted by the feral kitties in MV...

Posted by Its over, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 8, 2014 at 7:19 am

Thread hijack alert. This is not the place to trot out your tired feral cat issue. If what you say were actually true, the cougars would be here and surrounding cities more than once or twice every couple of year. You could try to blame it on Obama, gun control, or Bullis school if you also want...same logic.

Posted by factsstrait, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

Mountain Lions aren't an endangered species in California. Not even close.

Posted by Jenny, a resident of Gemello
on May 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

I'm happy that the lion is caught. I have a lot of cats and am always scared that predators will hurt them

hope they shoot it if it comes back

Posted by No reason to fear, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

Jenny, you have zero reason to fear. This sort of thing happens about once a year, sometimes in Palo Alto, and it hasn't happened in MV for years and years. Once the cat gets into an urban area, he's not hunting, he's looking for a fast way out. They're terrified once they are in the concrete jungle.
Your cats are more at risk from raccoons than cougars in downtown MV.

Posted by hmm, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

A big cat is a big cat, not to be messed with and not to let little children near. This is a dangerous scene, it's only luck no one got injured. Next time it may not be so pretty. Their coming down here means that there are too many of them to live in the San Cruz mountains.

If it's tagged and released it may come back and kills someone, then the people opting to save it's life might be singing a different tune.

Posted by Jenny, a resident of Gemello
on May 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm

thank you I am glad. I used to have 14 cats and only 6 are inside cats. But now have not seen my outdoor cats in over a month. do you think the lion got them?

I will wait a little while and then adopt some replacements

Posted by Busted, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Oh I get it're funny, still a bit angry about your pet topic, _and_ you have lots of free. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Posted by Yes on AA, a resident of Bailey Park
on May 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Its almost like living next to a national park! What a cool animal. We're seeing the rewards of open space protection over the past decades. Black bear could be next. There have been anecdotal appearances now and then by black bear in the Santa Cruz Mountains including on Skyline Blvd in 2001.

Posted by No on AA, a resident of Monta Loma
on May 8, 2014 at 4:21 pm

The rich need more places to build their mansions and we don't need no stinking lions or bears patrolling our streets.

Posted by And now we vote, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Now we have two arguments to choose from; one each a representation of their side. Ah democracy. VOTE!

Posted by CP, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 9, 2014 at 6:38 am

This is wonderful that they safely captured the cougar! Congratulations to Mountain View PD for not shooting it. I'm sure that it is challenging to know when to make a determination to err on the side of caution and just kill the animal, but you didn't. Bless you.

Dear Jenny,

I am very concerned over your collection of cats. The law in Mountain View is to have a maximum of 4 indoor cats, but you state that you have 6. If you flaunt the law in this way, you could get more restrictive laws passed on felines. My advice is to take 2 of your indoor cats and release them to the outdoors. If you feel that downtown is too dangerous for them, then release them into Shoreline park. I have released about a dozen there every two years and I'm sure they are fine. I also have released about twenty in the past five years in the Cuesta area and occasionally will see one. Good luck.

To anyone who thinks that cats roaming outdoors are bad obviously has not had your car pooped on by birds. They used to plague me so much that I almost parked my car in the garage! (I reserve the garage for my ping-pong table.) I have not had a single bird "accident" on my car in over a year thanks to the growing feline population.

Posted by I can see you, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 9, 2014 at 7:17 am

Ha! Funny story! Think up another one!!

Posted by Martin, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 9:03 am

I heard a sound bite this morning from a MV Police officer about what to do if you should see a cougar. The best line was "call 911...don't try to pet it. You're not a cougar whisperer"
Sage advice :)

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