Nature paid a visit at Coto de Caza when a mountain lion cub wandered into a backyard in the gated community. Officials said they weren't sure how the 62-pound cub managed to negotiate fences and wind up there, but they weren't surprised.
"They can jump real well," said Patrick Moore, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game. "House cats can get over some of these fences, so mountain lions can certainly get over them--even if they're 7 or 8 feet tall."
Coto de Caza's private security force kept residents away from the animal until Orange County Animal Control officers arrived at the home off Vista del Verde near the golf course. The lion was tranquilized, captured and held overnight, then released into the nearby wilderness area Friday morning.
"We decided it really wasn't a threat to public safety. It wasn't going after anybody. It was trying to get out," said Dr. Richard Evans, chief of veterinary services for the county Health Care Agency, which oversees Animal Control.