TEMECULA â€” A mountain lion was caught in the middle of a busy Southern California city on Friday, after it showed up at the Promenade Mall in Temecula.
Riverside County Sheriffâ€™s Department officials saidÂ that around 6 a.m., they received several calls of a large cat roaming in the parking lot adjacent to the mall.
When deputies arrived on scene, they found a 150-pound mountain lion near the Macyâ€™s store, officials said.
Deputy Albert Martinez says Fish and Wildlife officials were then called to the scene, and â€œthey were able to safely corral the animalâ€ around 7 a.m. and capture it using a tranquilizer dart.
Fish and Wildlife officials were set to medically evaluate the mountain lion prior to releasing it in the wild, but sadly, the animal died shortly after its capture.
â€œUnfortunately, while it was in transit, it died,â€ California Department of Fish and Wildlife Spokesman Kyle Orr told Patch. â€œItâ€™s not common, but there is an inherent risk anytime you immobilize a wild animal.â€
The spokesman for the wildlife agency saidÂ that the animal was a male, who was not acting aggressively during the capture process. He said it likely wandered to the mall, looking for its own territory.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t acting aggressively, but it was certainly in a place that wasnâ€™t appropriate for a mountain lion,â€ Orr said.
Orr said itâ€™s too early to speculate on the cause of death, but a necropsy will be performed on the animal.
â€œWe do our very, very best to catch these animals alive,â€ Lt. Patrick Foy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife saidÂ after the animalâ€™s death. â€œWhen we do dart that animal, we are doing so with our best intentions of the animalâ€™s life.â€