Overlake residents were on the lookout for a mountain lion Thursday afternoon before it was captured by the state Department of Wildlife Resources with assistance from the Tooele City Police Department.
The mountain lion was first spotted around 12:40 p.m. near 2200 N. 50 West in Tooele City and officers were dispatched to search the area, according to Tooele City Police Sgt. Tanya Kalma. Officers spent several hours searching for the big cat.
“The animal was spotted throughout several front yards and kept jumping fences and getting out of sight,” Kalma said. “Eventually it got out of sight from our officers, who weren’t able to relocate it.”
A reverse 911 call went out to the Sunset Estates neighborhood where the cougar had been spotted following the initial sighting, Kalma said. The alert cautioned residents to be on the lookout for the mountain lion and to keep pets and children inside their homes.
After losing sight of the cougar for a period of time, it was rediscovered in the yard of a home on Berra Boulevard around 3:25 p.m., according to Kalma. Utah DWR was called in to tranquilize the animal.
Utah DWR wildlife biologist Tom Becker said the mountain lion was hiding under a large tomato plant in the resident’s yard. After hitting the big cat with a dart, it went to the corner of the yard but did not jump the fence, then fell asleep, he said.
Tooele City police officers assisted in removing the cougar from the resident’s yard and into a state DWR pickup truck for relocation. Becker said the mountain lion would be released in an area canyon.
The mountain lion was approximately two years old, which is about the age they leave their mothers, according to Becker. There are sightings of mountain lions in Tooele County every year, he said.
“They usually don’t get far enough into town where we end up darting them but it’s not uncommon,” Becker said.
Throughout the pursuit of the mountain lion, residents provided calls to dispatch on where the animal was traveling, volunteered drones to help locate it and one resident even offered hunting dogs, but they were unable to track the cougar, according to Kalma. Tooele County Emergency Management also contributed a drone to monitor the big cat after it settled in the Berra Boulevard yard.
“We’re just grateful for all the community involvement,” Kalma said. “It was definitely a community effort.”