Mountain lion shot, killed in Los Gatos backyard

A mountain lion found in the backyard of a Los Gatos home Monday afternoon was shot with a shotgun at close range as a safety precaution, a California Department of Fish and Game spokesman said today.

The mountain lion, estimated to be under 1 year old based on its size, was seen in the backyard of a house at 14240 Lora Drive, spokesman Harry Morsey said. The feline was standing near the residence's pool and next to children's bicycles, he said.

Fish and Game officials received a call reporting the animal at about 4:30 p.m.,Morsey said. After assessing the situation and considering the mountain lion's proximity to state Highway 85 and groups of children and residents in the neighborhood, Morsey said, officials concurred that the chance of the lion running onto the freeway and being killed or causing an accident or attacking someone was too high, Morsey said. The mountain lion was shot and killed at about 6:05 p.m., he said.

The animal was taken to the Fish and Game lab in Santa Cruz today for a necropsy to determine its age and any conditions it may have suffered from, Morsey said.

Officials have not determined where the mountain lion came from or how it made its way into a backyard, Morsey said.

Not all mountain lions found in residential areas are killed, Morsey stressed. About 3 percent of the mountain lions reported are killed, he said, as some can be scared back into appropriate open space areas away from residents and other dangers.

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