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June 17, 2024

Mountain lion struck dead by vehicle days after one strolled streets of California city

Mountain lion struck dead by vehicle days after one strolled streets of California city

SAN DIEGO — Rare sightings of mountain lion activity in downtown Oceanside made new fans of the urban prowler, but days later, experts wonder if the same animal has been felled.

Police reported a mountain lion was fatally struck by a vehicle at 7:25 p.m. Friday just north of the San Luis Rey River, NBC San Diego reported Saturday.

The San Diego Humane Society was notified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife about the cat’s death late Friday, spokesperson Jordan Frey said by email.

A mountain lion was seen on security video walking through the Oceanside City Hall parking garage sometime Monday to Wednesday, Oceanside police said.Oceanside Police Department

“According to CDFW, this animal was a younger male lion, likely a disperser,” she said, referring to the youthful cat’s tendency to travel ahead of meteorological spring.

“It’s difficult to say if it is the same lion that was being reported in the area this week,” Jordan continued, “as this is the time of year where young mountain lions will start to disperse and seek territory of their own.”

The animal was being checked out by Fish and Wildlife officials, NBC San Diego said.

Sightings earlier in the week in downtown Oceanside, a city home to 172,000 people where U.S. Marines from adjacent Camp Pendleton enjoy liberty and leave time at bars and craft breweries, were captured by security video.

At least one cat, maybe more, made the scene at a movie theater, along Coast Highway, and at Oceanside City Hall’s parking garage, officer Tom Bussey of the Oceanside Police Department told NBC San Diego.

“Those interactions are incredibly rare,” Megan Senour, an expert on human-wildlife interaction at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, told the TV station.

Despite the segregation, mountain lions are legion in the nation’s most populous state — and half of the state is considered mountain lion habitat, Senour said.

The mammals occupy mountains, hills and wildlife corridors with dense brush and rarely come face to face with humans, experts have said. They can travel along wildlife corridors at a rate of 10 to 12 miles a day, Andy Blue, campus director at the San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center, told NBC San Diego.

One reason people might be seeing more of the wild cats is a proliferation of security video cameras is picking up mountain lions on previously incognito travels, Blue said.

“They’ve probably been in these areas all along, and we just never really were aware of it until you’re seeing it on your camera in the middle of the night,” he said.

The cats are subject to the state’s “special protected species” designation, which outlaws the possession, transport, importation or sale of any mountain lion part or product, including taxidermy mounts.

Dennis Romero

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

Bill Feather



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