Have You Ever Seen a Mountain Lion in San Francisco?

  • Because it sounds really crazy, but yes, it did really happen.

A young and sleepy mountain lion was found napping in a planter along a normally busy street in downtown San Francisco Thursday. Before being released back into the wild, the lion spent time looking at its reflection in the glass of an office tower. 

It was two days that the lion spent roaming the streets of San Fran before a police officer spotted him near Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Officers set up a perimeter before waiting for animal control officials to arrive. 


The lion was then safely captured within a green, shrubbery area of an apartment building/ They didn’t use any sedatives secure the animal.

“In 24 hours, it only moved a few blocks. The poor guy really needed some help,” Deb Campbell, Animal Care and Control spokeswoman said. 

According to Campbell, officials actually get reports about cougars in the city about once a year. The animals make their way up the Pacific Coast from the hills south of the city but eventually make their way back to the wilderness. 

“We never had a mountain lion right in the middle of downtown San Francisco,” Campbell said.

Officials had been watching the lion since last Tuesday after a motorist reported seeing it in Russian Hill, the neighborhood known for its crooked Lombard Street. 

“It was looking in windows, looking at his reflection or something. Maybe he thought it was his mom or brother or sister,” Campbell said. 

“It is likely the mountain lion is confused and lost, and will soon find its way south and out of the city,” police officials said via Twitter Wednesday. “If approached by the mountain lion, make yourself appear big and shout.”

This lion was too little to have already left its family so it’s unclear why it was alone, but the cat was examined at the Oakland Zoo before California Fish and Wildlife officials released it at a wilderness preserve.

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