LOMPOC, Calif. - Back in the good ol' day, the job of rescuing a cat stuck in a tree often fell to heroic firefighters. Now, a different type of treed cat requires specially-trained heroes to the rescue.
That was the case last Thursday afternoon when a mountain lion cub became trapped in a large oak tree on private property in rural Lompoc.
Lt. Jamie Dostal with California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) was called out to a 20 acre horse ranchette in Cebada Canyon and found the wild cat “gripping a small oak tree branch about 25 feet above the ground.”
The ranch owner had several large guard dogs that likely scared the cub up into the tree. The owner became increasingly worried about the cub and assumed its mother wasn’t too far off.
Dustin Pearce, an Environmental Scientist, also responded to the cougar call. Dostal said Pearce came up with a safe way to capture and remove the cub using an extension ladder and a catch pole.
The plan worked. Within a short time, the cub was safely placed into an animal carrier and loaded onto an ATV, then driven to the edge of the property and released back into open space.
Pearce noted that the only time he got a good look at the cub for a visual examination was after it was placed in the animal carrier “due to its aggressiveness.” From a wildlife perspective, that’s a good, healthy sign.
For more information about wildlife in our area, click here.