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Mountain lion with jaw fracture returns to wild

RAMONA – A mountain lion is back in the wild in Central California after spending two months at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center. The adult male was released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wednesday, May 1, in rural San Luis Obispo County, where he was initially found suffering injuries consistent with being hit by a car. Before release, he was fitted with a GPS collar to monitor his movements.

The mountain lion was first brought to the Ramona Wildlife Center by CDFW March 4, after he had been triaged at an emergency veterinary clinic in Salinas. The animal had road rash wounds, ticks and burrs covering his fur, a fractured jaw and a broken canine tooth. San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife team and outside dental consultants repaired the jaw injury and addressed his wounds. A month later, they also performed a root canal on the animal’s upper right canine.

While in recovery, the Project Wildlife veterinary team administered pain medication and kept a close watch on the animal via video cameras to ensure he was eating on his own and moving well enough to survive in the wild. Then, under close guidance from CDFW, the mountain lion was deemed ready for release May 1.

“It’s a remarkable sight to see this majestic animal return to his rightful place in the wild,” Andy Blue, campus director at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center, said. “It truly takes a village to make it happen, from the state’s biologists to our veterinary team and the tireless devotion of our wildlife rehab specialists. Every wild animal plays a vital role in maintaining the ecosystem, so we’re glad he’s back in his natural habitat.”

On average there are one to two mountain lions killed by cars on California’s highways each week. Vehicle strikes, urban encroachment, rodenticide and wildfires all contribute to the death of mountain lions in California.

San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program is the primary resource for wild animal rehabilitation and conservation education in San Diego County. Each year, the organization gives more than 10,000 injured, orphaned and sick wild animals a second chance. At the Ramona Campus, which they have been operating since 2020, SDHS specializes in caring for native apex predators and birds of prey, including hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, bears, bobcats and, under special case-by-case authorization, mountain lions.

San Diego Humane Society’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. It offers programs that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty and neglect, provide medical care, educate the community and serve as a safety net for all pet families. Serving San Diego County since 1880, San Diego Humane Society has campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona and San Diego. For more information, visit http://sdhumane.org.

 

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