Mountain lion captured near Enumclaw released into wild



Posted on July 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 28 at 2:44 PM

ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- A mountain lion that had been captured in a neighborhood near Enumclaw was released back into the wild Tuesday night.

Neighbors got an up close look at the mountain lion as kids even got a chance to touch the animal and help wildlife officials measure and weigh in.

Luke Olney first spotted the mountain lion Monday. The big cat wandered from property to property until wildlife agents showed up with dogs and searched for it.

"All of a sudden the mountain lion was right there," said Bruce Richards, wildlife agent. "It was right there the whole time watching us."

The dogs chased after the mountain lion, which took off and leaped over a six foot fence.

"So I threw the dog over the fence," said Richards, who also gave chase. "Then, the dog looks up and started barking. That tells me the cougar's in a tree. That's exactly what we want."

Wildlife agents managed to tranquilize the mountain lion and place it in a cage. Olney said he's glad wildlife officers were able to safely capture the lion.

"I thought it would be cool to be able to have it captured and released somewhere, so it could still live and maybe have kids or whatever," said Olney.

Richards reported the mountain lion was in good health, but was a little unusual.

"This cat didn't have a lot of fear of people. He'd just sit there and stare at 'em," said Richards. "They had a staredown yesterday. He just sat there for 20 minutes staring at you."

When the mountain lion was released back into the wild, officials used dogs, loud noises and fired gunshots to try and scare it from returning again.