Mountain Lion Who Was on the Loose Named Mr. Handsome, Released into Wild

A mountain lion dubbed "Mr. Handsome" that was found in San Francisco earlier this week has been released back into the wild after a check-up.

An individual spotted the mountain lion in a tree at around 10 p.m. Wednesday evening, near the Bernal Heights neighborhood of the city.

Officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) subsequently removed the animal from the area and transported the two-year-old male to Oakland Zoo. Officials used a tranquillizer dart to put the big cat to sleep before bringing it to the zoo.

Veterinary staff at the zoo examined the mountain lion, conducting a complete medical check, treating him for parasites and even administering preventative vaccines against rabies and other diseases.

"This is a beautiful two-year-old male mountain lion," Dr. Alex Herman, vice president of Veterinary Services at the Oakland Zoo, told ABC7.

Zoo officials said in a statement that the mountain lion was in "great overall health," determining him to be around 98.5 pounds in weight.

"He looks very healthy and he has been radio collared by the University of California, Santa Cruz, so we know a little bit about him. Looks like he came out of the Santa Cruz Mountains and got lost in San Francisco. He's young so he probably recently separated from his mother. I think I have called him 'Mr. Handsome' several times. That's the name that came to mind."

CDFW officials have now released the mountain lion in a rural, unpopulated area of Santa Clara County so it can continue living in the wild.

"We take pride in doing our part to help rescue and protect animals in the wild, through our partnerships and collaboration with CDFW, Bay Area Puma Project, and the San Francisco Police Department," Herman said in a statement.

Our vet and animal care staff examined the mountain lion rescue we received last night. The 2-year-old male is in great overall health! After his exam...

The zoo said Mr. Handsome was the 15th rescued mountain lion it has treated over the past three years.

The zoo said that "long-range travel" into urban neighborhoods isn't out of the ordinary for mountain lions of this age. Mountain lions are known to travel long distances in search of food, mates and good places to sleep.

But when mountain lions come into contact with humans, they face a number of threats. Some are struck by cars, while others are killed illegally by poachers.

Mountain lions (Puma concolor) are a large cat species native to the Americas, with a range stretching from Canada's Yukon Territory to the Strait of Magellan in the south. In the U.S., they are mostly found in 14 western states, inhabiting environments including mountains, forests, deserts and wetlands.

A mountain lion
Stock image showing a mountain lion. A mountain lion rescued in San Francisco has been released back into the wild iStock