This mountain lion was NOT stuck up a tree

News media on the Internet is full of this story. It’s about a mountain lion which they say was stuck up a tree. The cat was perched on a branch 15 m above ground. For some reason or other, somebody decided the cat was stuck there just like a domestic cat might become stuck up a tree. They decided that the mountain lion needed to be rescued. I’m going to argue that this cat was not stuck up the tree. What evidence was there that the cougar was stuck? None I guess; just a presumption and a good headline for online newspapers.

Tranquillised puma being lowered to the ground from a perch 50 feet up a tree
Tranquillised puma being lowered to the ground from a perch 50 feet up a tree
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Mountain lions are fantastic climbers and they frequently climb trees when pursued by hunters with dogs. They are wonderful jumpers and hugely athletic. I would be extremely surprised if this cat was stuck in this tree.

He or she was probably simply resting up there, a safe location in a suburban area which may have made the cat a little anxious. A homeowner called for help after spotting the cougar close to his home near the edge of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The California state wildlife officials climbed the tree, tranquilized the cat and put the cat into a harness to then slowly lowered the cat to the ground. The cat was then checked by experts and released back into the wild. End of story!

This cat had wandered out of the mountains into a semi-suburban area by the look of it and somebody got a bit worried and telephoned the authorities. I’m sure that this beautiful animal was quite happy to be 15 m up a tree above the ground and was quite able to get down as and when he wanted to. It’s just that humans had interfere probably because the authorities wanted to avoid having the coming down the tree an possibly frightening residents. The default response when a cougar finds itself in a suburban area is to tranquillise and relocate.

At least they didn’t shoot the cat. In the past this might have happened. There is a fear of mountain lions although they can be quite small and on my reading of the subject, they can be scared away because they are inherently quite a private and retiring cat. They’re not excessively aggressive like African lions or Asian tigers. They are more like cheetahs which is another relatively mild mannered large cat.

Yes, sometimes cougars do attack people, more often kids, but they are extremely rare.

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1 thought on “This mountain lion was NOT stuck up a tree”

  1. These poor animals. We’re taking their habitat and this is what happens to them. You’re right, at least it wasn’t shot dead.

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