Wildlife officials captured a pair of juvenile mountain lions on Tuesday afternoon as the cats scampered between homes in Ocean Colony. The cats were unharmed.
The six-month-old cats, one male and one female, weighed 15 to 20 pounds, according to Peter Tira, public information officer for California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He said they were caught with nets and that no tranquilizers were used in the capture.
Tira said both cats were being brought to the Oakland Zoo on Tuesday. He added that he wasn’t sure what the ultimate plan is for the animals, but that they were brought to the zoo for now for safe keeping.
He said wildlife officials became aware of the cats on Sunday night. Initially, they were keeping an eye out for the cubs’ mother, but a bigger cat didn’t materialize. Typically, mountain lion cubs stay near their mother for two years, Tira said, and these cubs were not able to care for themselves.
One of the cats appeared thin, Tira said.
The cubs captured on Tuesday are presumed to be the same animals that have been seen strolling around Half Moon Bay of late.
Residents posted photos to social media earlier this month showing the young lions south of town, in the vicinity of Higgins Canyon Road. Then they turned up near Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay Sunday evening. That night, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office shared photos of one of the animals nestled under a Sheriff’s vehicle at what appears to be North Main Street and Highway 1.
A day later, two cubs were spotted on the Coastal Trail between Poplar Beach and the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. On Tuesday, the mountain lion cubs were seen in Ocean Colony where they were ultimately corralled.
The response from state wildlife authorities was markedly different this week than it was after a similar sighting in 2012.
In December 2012, Fish and Game wardens shot and killed two juvenile mountain lions that were corralled on Correas Street in downtown Half Moon Bay. The cougars, estimated to be 25 to 30 pounds each, were considered a threat.
“With a cat at that size and age in a residential area, it was a public safety concern. Period,” said Fish and Game spokeswoman Janice Mackey at the time.
The killings were widely condemned on the coast and elsewhere. The resulting uproar led to legislation requiring Fish and Wildlife employees to capture or tranquilize the animals unless they posed an immediate threat to people.