TOOELE (ABC4 Utah News) – A mountain lion on the loose kept residents inside their homes for nearly four hours Thursday afternoon.
The Overlake area looked like a ghost town after Tooele County issued an emergency alert at 2:19 pm.
Sgt. Tanya Kalma of the Tooele Police Department explained how residents were notified.
“A reverse 911 call went out to the neighborhood alerting all the homeowners here that there was a mountain lion out in the area,” Sgt. Kalma said. “And for folks to stay in their homes, keep their children and their pets in their homes.”
With the help of residents, Tooele Police and Tooele County Sheriff’s Officers had been tracking the mountain lion since 12:40.
Finally at 3:15 a 22 year old man came face to face with the cougar in the backyard of his uncle’s house. Neighbor Karolina Burton was recording on her cell phone as Tom Becker of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources crouched down and shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart.
“Just stayed there, got a dart in it, went over to the corner of the fence, decided not to jump and just laid down and went to sleep,” Becker said.
The 2 year old male was checked out and found to be just fine. He was taken back to a canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains and released back into the wild.
“Animal wasn’t hurt,” Sgt. Kalma said. “We didn’t have any officers or any citizens hurt and we’re grateful for that. Just grateful for all of the community involvement. It was definitely a community effort.”
But Burton says it was a little too close of an encounter for her.
“It is a little scary,” Burton said. “Definitely eye opening to be this far away from the mountains. You know there are streets around us, highways, so I’m surprised it got this far away from the wilderness but I guess that’s what happens when we build neighborhoods in their area.”