In Santa Cruz, a young mountain lion accidentally wandered into downtown this morning, only to find out that it was not cut out for urban life. The mountain lion was spotted, stuck in a 20-foot-deep concrete aqueduct around 7:30 a.m., but it apparently couldn't jump high enough to get out (or was possibly just too lazy to figure out another exit). It took rescue crews nearly five hours to get the cat out of the ditch.
Because everyone loves it when cats do dumb things, onlookers gathered to watch as rescuers made several attempts get it out of the ditch. One woman who lives in the neighborhood near Water Street and May Avenue wrote on Facebook that she was grabbing a cup of coffee and watching the whole scene unfold. Witnesses say the it was spotted in the parking lot of nearby Ramada Inn and hopped a fence into the ravine.
Police had surrounded the animal by 9:30 a.m., but waited for feline experts from the UC Santa Cruz and WildRescue to show up before they tried to subdue it. After sheriff's deputies on ATVs attempted to lead the animal out, Chris Wilmers of the UCSC Puma Project shot it in the neck with a tranquilizer. The cat reportedly two two darts to the neck before it was finally sedated enough for rescue workers to get it into an oversized pet crate and hoist it out of the ditch.