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Here, Kitty, Kitty—That Mountain Lion Spotted in Bernal Heights Has Been Captured

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The not-very-stoked Bernal Heights mountain lion, at Oakland Zoo Thursday morning.
The not-very-stoked Bernal Heights mountain lion, at Oakland Zoo Thursday morning.  (Twitter/ @OakZoo)

Breathe a sigh of relief, San Francisco hikers, for that mountain lion that’s been roaming around Bernal Heights was safely captured on Wednesday night. And don’t worry, cat lovers—he is safe, thanks to a giant team effort by SF Animal Care and Control, SFPD, California Fish and Wildlife officials, and the Oakland Zoo.

First, the brave souls of SFACC cornered the big cat while he was hiding in a tree on Santa Marina Street, near Mission Street. (Ten bucks says the neighbors facing the tree were more excited than the birds living in it.)

The mountain lion, hanging in the tree, as seen by neighbors.
The mountain lion, hanging in the tree, as seen by neighbors. (NBC Bay Area)

While that was going on, SFPD officers secured the perimeter, and the California Fish and Wildlife folks rushed to the scene, Batman and Robin-style. After they’d tranquilized the lion with a dart, he jumped down from the tree, climbed onto the nearest porch and promptly passed out. (We’ve all been there.)

NBC Bay Area interviewed a Bernal Heights resident who witnessed the whole thing. “I came downstairs to take the garbage out,” said Zach Ellenberg. “And I got about three steps down, and there was a man sitting in the car out here who looked at me and yelled, ‘Get back inside! There’s a cougar in the tree!’ I thought it was a joke, but I went back inside, and then sure enough the police showed up and animal control, I guess. It became a whole scene. It was very exciting! Not what you expect when you move to the city.”

By 1 in the morning, our large feline friend was in Oakland Zoo custody, getting a thorough examination by vets on staff, as well as vaccines. (Even the mountain lions are doing it!) Once he gets the all-clear, the California Fish and Wildlife heroes will return to move the mountain lion to a “safe place in Santa Clara County.” Presumably somewhere way less populated than Bernal.


This morning, Oakland Zoo shared a video of the mountain lion in which he looked monumentally unimpressed about his entire night. Sound up for a laptop-shaking growl fest.

Hang in there, lil’ fella. You’ll be out of cat jail before you know it.

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