State game wardens are keeping an eye on a young mountain lion that is hiding behind a row of bushes in the front yard of a residence in southwest Morgan Hill, in hopes the animal will move along from the area by nightfall, according to authorities.
Morgan Hill Police and officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife do not think the animal is a threat to the public due to its size. However, Lt. Jeff Heitzenrater of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife cautioned that residents in the area should remain indoors until the mountain lion leaves the area.
A resident of the 900 block of White Cloud Drive reported the mountain lion about 11:30am Nov. 30. MHPD and Fish and Wildlife officers responded and located the animal hiding behind a row of bushes directly in front of a home.
Officers surrounded the animal—while keeping a safe distance in the roadway—and closed a section of White Cloud Drive to vehicle traffic. Some of the officers were carrying long firearms as a precaution.
As of about 1:45pm, the mountain lion had not moved from its hiding spot and MHPD officers cleared the area. Fish and Wildlife officers will remain at the scene, with continued road closures in place, until the mountain lion leaves. MHPD Chief Shane Palsgrove said the city’s animal control officer would also remain at the scene in case local assistance is needed.
Heitzenrater estimated the mountain lion is no more than nine months old and weighs about 25 pounds. “It likely was out with its mom, and got split up for whatever reason,” Heitzenrater said.
The game wardens so far have declined to attempt to shoot a tranquilizer dart at the animal because it “may not survive” due to its size and age, Heitzenrater added.
“We’re in a holding pattern to see what happens,” he said. “We are asking residents to stay in their homes, and we hope the cat can find its way back home” by Monday night.