Oakland Zoo veterinary staff and a California Fish and Wildlife officer help treat a mountain lion that had been shot by police in a residential area of Hollister Aug. 26. Photo: Oakland Zoo/Facebook

A young mountain lion that was shot by police on Aug. 26 in a residential area of Hollister died in the care of emergency veterinarians, according to authorities.

The Hollister Police Department said its officers fired their weapons at the animal as it charged at the police, following a failed attempt by state Fish and Wildlife officials to strike the mountain lion with a tranquilizer dart. Local police and the game wardens had been at the scene, on the 1400 block of Diablo Drive in southeast Hollister, since early morning Aug. 26 in an effort to secure the neighborhood from the wild animal, according to authorities.

A resident on Diablo Drive called police about 4:42am to report the mountain lion was lingering on the home’s front porch, Hollister Police said.

Local police responded and requested help from California Fish and Wildlife, which sent two wildlife officers to the scene. The wildlife officers were equipped with tranquilizer medication and an air-powered dart rifle, says a press release from Hollister PD.

Hollister PD issued a shelter-in-place order using phone and social media communications. Police evacuated the home that was immediately adjacent to the animal, authorities said.

Wildlife officers fired two tranquilizer darts at the mountain lion “without success,” police said. The mountain lion “charged from the bush directly toward a police officer (who was) stationed in an effort to keep it contained,” says the press release. “Fearing for the life and safety of the officer, two officers fired their rifles at the mountain lion.”

The frightened animal jumped a fence to a neighbor’s yard and fled into another bush, authorities said. Fish and Wildlife officers again delivered tranquilizer darts toward the mountain lion, this time striking the animal.

After the tranquilizer dart hit the mountain lion, it was “successfully sedated and safely removed from the area,” the press release says.

Authorities examined the animal and determined it had suffered at least one bullet wound to the abdomen. The mountain lion was further examined by a State of California veterinarian by teleconference, after which authorities decided to transport the animal to the Oakland Zoo for treatment.

Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso said the mountain lion had been hit by “multiple” tranquilizer darts from Fish and Wildlife officers before it could be safely subdued.

At 4:46pm Aug. 26, Oakland Zoo said in a social media statement that the animal had died in their vets’ care. The post described the animal as a “young male mountain lion” that was transported to the zoo by California Fish and Wildlife authorities in critical condition.

“We were hopeful to share good news in this post, as our vet team did everything they could to save him, but learned just minutes ago that he passed during the emergency surgery,” reads the Oakland Zoo’s post. “This is the 20th mountain lion to come to Oakland Zoo in need of help as another victim of human-wildlife conflict, and we are heartbroken with the tragic loss.”

The post includes a video of zoo hospital staff and a Fish and Wildlife officer treating the sedated mountain lion. In a portion of the video, an Oakland Zoo staff person points to x-rays of the animal’s injuries, pointing to a collapsed lung and noting where its diaphragm had been “compromised.”

Hollister PD said in the press release, “We involved Fish and Wildlife out of care and concern for the animal, and attempting to remove the animal from a residential area safely, but also knew this was a potentially life-threatening situation for our residents. We are enormously grateful for their assistance. Ultimately, however, we could not place the life of the animal above human life, which is why the officers fired their rifles at the scene.”

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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