Mountain Lion Tranquilized, Shot in Downtown El Paso, Texas

It seems as if there has been a rash of news stories about
mountain lions on the loose in cities and suburban neighborhoods
recently, including this one from downtown El Paso, Texas… 

A mountain lion that authorities first had tried to tranquilize
led law enforcement officers, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
game warden captain and city animal control officers on a wild
chase through central El Paso that ended with the animal being shot
and killed.

The mountain lion, a female estimated to weigh 125 pounds, was
first seen on railroad tracks near downtown around 8:30 a.m. by
Union Pacific employees. They contacted El Paso’s animal control
unit, which began looking for the cat. A short time later, a
passerby saw the animal enter the parking garage of a state office
building at 401 E. Franklin, where TPWD game wardens have their
offices along with several other government agencies.

Once the animal had been cornered in the garage, a Texas
Department of Health veterinarian shot it with a tranquilizer dart.
But before the drug could take full effect, it jumped from the
second floor of the garage back onto the street, heading north out
of downtown with multiple agencies in hot pursuit, including game
warden Capt. Robert Newman, city animal control and others.

Passing through a school yard, the big cat ran about a half-mile
north to H&H Car Wash at 701 E. Yandell Dr., where Newman and
other officers evacuated several customers and lowered the
business’s vehicle security gate to trap the mountain lion inside.
The animal eventually lay down, but it did not lose consciousness
so the veterinarian shot it with a second tranquilizer dart.

Despite that injection, the mountain lion took off and hit the
fence, finding a space it was able to crawl through. Since it
appeared about to escape again, two officers – one from El Paso
Police Department and one from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission – shot and killed the animal shortly before 10:30 a.m.
The carcass will go to city animal control facilities, and there
will eventually be a necropsy analysis done.

Capt. Newman noted that the Rio Grande is only about a mile from
the incident area, and that the Franklin Mountains are also nearby.
He said there are occasional reports of mountain lions within the
city limits, and that three or four years ago a TPWD game warden
shot and killed a mountain lion in a west side neighborhood that
backed up to the mountain range.


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