Mountain Lion Captured In North Tulsa Neighborhood

Monday, April 25th 2011, 5:46 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- There was more than just Easter Eggs hiding in a North Tulsa man's backyard this weekend.

A mountain lion made it's way up a tree, giving Luke Roberts and law enforcement quite a surprise.

Mountain lions are not common around these parts of Oklahoma. The Wildlife Game Commission is trying to figure out where the female mountain lion came from and how she wound up in Roberts' tree.

Roberts says on Saturday afternoon, he heard a crow. But something didn't seem right.

"Every now and then you'll here a caw or two but you know this one was like a bluejay will do when they see a cat? This was doing the same thing just sounding the alarm," Roberts said.

So he wandered outside and took a look up to see what all the fuss was about.

And couldn't believe what he saw.

"His tail was about as big around as my arm. And I thought, ‘that's a mountain lion. I can't believe there's a mountain lion up in my tree,'" he said.

Stunned and not quite sure what to do, Roberts called Tulsa police. But the big question is how did a mountain lion wind up in Tulsa?

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife says some people keep them as pets, then realize they can't maintain them anymore.

"It's just something that people think is neat," Colin Berg, Education Section Supervisor for Department of Wildlife, said. "It's not the best thing to have. They are not like little house cats."

Colin Berg says mountain lions do sometimes travel great distances. But he says it's usually young males who venture far from home.

"We've had cats show up before from other states as far away as South Dakota," he said.

Whether wild or raised domestically, the mountain lion couldn't be left in Roberts' tree. Tranquilizers had to be used to safely capture the big cat.

"I thought maybe the first time he was asleep. When the second one hit him, he growled and stood up and started coming down the tree," Roberts said.

"When he growled, and everyone understood what he was, everyone started running," David Polk said.

Neighbor David Polk says curiosity got the neighborhood. But it was the tranquilizers, the zoo, and wildlife experts that finally got the cat.

"Fear," he said. "Everybody was scared. The police had guns and they took off running."

The mountain lion is at the Tulsa Zoo. They say she had a lot of ticks on her but is otherwise healthy. They say she's wary of humans but she did eat Monday.

The zoo will do a DNA test to see where she is from.