An emaciated and injured female mountain lion was humanely euthanized about 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, according to Brian Ehler, a biologist with the California Department of fish and Wildlife.
Ehler said the emaciated lion that appeared to have a physical injury that caused it to limp, fled after being seen Tuesday morning in a green area near South Street above Diamond View School.
It returned to the same area Tuesday night and was euthanized due to its poor physical condition.
It’s impossible to say with certainty, but Ehler suspects this is the same lion that’s been reported in the Hobo Camp area for the past month or so.
Ehler said he thought the lion was likely old because investigators discovered it was missing teeth, but that determination can only be made after a necropsy is conducted in Sacramento.
“It was missing quite a few teeth, and the missing teeth help explain its emaciated condition,” Ehler said. “It was having trouble eating, and it’s clearly been having trouble for quite a while.”
He also said the lion had “a pretty obvious limp, and was having trouble walking.”
According to Ehler, the lion was euthanized for its own welfare, in the way the agency would respond to a deer hit by an automobile any other injured wildlife that was suffering.
“It wasn’t classified as depredation,” Ehler said, “although if someone had asked for a permit we could have issued one because it killed three cats and that would fall under depredation, but someone would have to ask us for a permit.”
A number of law enforcement officers from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, the Susanville Police Department and the California Highway Patrol responded to the sighting Tuesday morning. It fled but returned in the evening.
“The lion was just not leaving the area,” Ehler said. “It’s pretty unusual for a mountain lion to tolerate people like that.”
Ehler said it’s important anyone who encounters a lion should not run or appear like prey.
Here are some tips if you encounter a lion: Do not run. Stand upright and make eye contact. Do not bend over or turn away. Appear intimidating. Raise your hands above your head and use your voice in a loud and authoritative tone. If the lion attacks, fight back.
For more information, call Ehler at 254-6808 or 340-6808.