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Wandering Cougar Was Healthy, Autopsy Reveals

June 23, 1988

The results of an autopsy on the mountain lion that wandered into a Pasadena neighborhood last week and was killed by police ruled out disease as a factor in the big cat's appearance, said Larry Sitton, a biologist with the state Fish and Game Department.

A sick animal, a spokesman for the department said, would be more likely to behave abnormally and enter territory unfamiliar to it.

Tests concluded Wednesday showed the cougar to be 1 or 2 years old and in good physical condition, Sitton said. The biologist declined to theorize why the animal made the three-mile trek from Angeles National Forest to the 400 block of East Montana Street, saying only that the unusually dry year may have caused it to search for water.

"I think we can expect more interaction with all animal types over the coming months unless we get some more rain, because there's more water at the edge of urban areas," he said. "We don't know if that was the case here."

The lion was killed last week by multiple shotgun blasts under orders of Fish and Game officials. Authorities feared that a tranquilizer dart, which would take up to 20 minutes to fell the cat, might have made the animal hostile toward the crowd and onlookers.

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