A mountain lion spotted along walking trails in Rohnert Park on Monday morning – prompting two nearby schools to go on lockdown – was later captured, officials with the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety said.
The mountain lion was spotted in the area of the Five Creek and Crane Creek trails, just east of Eagle Park and Evergreen Elementary School, police said around 8 a.m.
Both Evergreen Elementary and nearby Lawrence Jones Middle School were placed on lockdown temporarily.
Wildlife experts were able to tranquilize the cat, believed to be a female. The animal already has a tracking device and is known to officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, police said.
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"Fortunately, in this situation, we were able to call the experts out, and they were able to tranquilize the animal and hopefully return it back to the wild soon," Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Lt. Jeff Nicks said.
The mountain lion was taken to a wildlife rescue center in Petaluma five miles away. She won't be kept near the rescue's other animals. She'll be at a remote habitat in nearby woods, away from domesticated animals and people.
"We’re able to monitor the cat from a distance so it can exhibit its own natural behavior and not be afraid," Doris Duncan with Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue said.
Duncan said what she saw the big cat doing – allowing so many people to get so close – near Evergreen Elementary was not normal.
A scientist who has been tracking the animal for more than six months said she has a known neurological issue but has proven to be able to hunt and survive in the wild. The scientist said a multitude of blood and medical tests conducted Monday will help determine is she's OK to return to the wild.