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Climate and Environment

Born Free — And Free Again. Orphaned Mountain Lion Is Back In The Wild

A mountain lion wearing a tracking collar springs airborne over rocks after being released from captivity.
One of two orphaned mountain lions is released back into the wild.
(Courtesy San Diego Humane Society)
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A young, orphaned mountain lion has been released back into the wild, four months after its mother was hit and killed by a car in Orange County.

The female mountain lion was rescued, along with its sister, near the Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Rancho Santa Margarita, when the two were just six months old.

Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife enlisted the help of the San Diego Humane Society to care for the kittens until they were old enough to fend for themselves.

Andy Blue, director of the Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center, said the lion was first outfitted with a tracking radio collar and an identifying microchip before it was set free.

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"It was released back into an area in the Santa Ana mountains," Blue said. "It's a remote area that has plenty of access to water and lots of tree cover. So she's in a beautiful spot."


The other kitten that was rescued had to have surgery for a fractured forearm at a clinic in Orange County before it came to the Ramona Wildlife Center last month.

A mountain lion rests on its side in surgery with a cone providing oxygen
One of two rescued mountain lions needed surgery for a fractured forearm.
(Courtesy San Diego Humane Society)

Blue says that mountain lion will likely go to a sanctuary when it's released, because of the amount of contact it's had with humans during its treatment.

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