Mountain lion captured in Rio Rancho neighborhood

[anvplayer video=”5186807″ station=”998122″]

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — It’s not often nature comes knocking on your back door.

“We were just lucky enough to get to watch a mountain lion legit hang out in our backyard,” said Amy Diaz.

Diaz was inside her home in Rio Rancho’s Northern Meadows neighborhood Wednesday when a mountain lion showed up on her back porch. Diaz says she only noticed it after she opened the back door to let her dog out and it refused. That’s when she looked down and saw the big cat.

“I always look to make sure there’s not a skateboard or something lovely that my children have left, and it was not a skateboard,” she said. “It was not, it had teeth.”

Diaz says she was close to stepping on the mountain lion when she finally noticed it. Even though there was a wild predator sitting on her doorstep, Diaz says she stayed calm.

“When I opened the door and I went to shut it, she just kind of looked at me like ‘Could you hook a girl up with water?’ She was just so chill,” Diaz said. “Because she was so chill. I think I was chill.”

Diaz called a family member over to confirm it was a mountain lion. She says they called animal control together, but only after collecting some evidence.

“Both of us just immediately took out our phone and we’re just like, trying to get the right angle, getting lower and lower,” she said. “Because that’s what responsible adults do. You get the picture, then you call the authorities.”

Diaz says the adult female lion eventually jumped into a neighbor’s yard before animal control officers arrived. It appears everyone lost track of the lion for a few moments before Diaz’s son noticed it was hiding high up in a tree in Diaz’s yard.

Animal control officers eventually shot the big cat with a tranquilizer dart. Diaz says the cat’s back legs got caught on a branch, so crews had to physically pull her down from the tree. Crews safely placed the mountain lion in a kennel before relocating it away from the neighborhood. Diaz says the only injury was a broken tree branch.

Diaz noted the animal control officers stopped multiple times to take selfies with the big cat – both before and after it was tranquilized.

“They were having fun with it, obviously,” she said. “But they did their job, and there was it was a positive outcome.”

KOB 4 reached out to New Mexico Game & Fish about the incident and where they plan on relocating the lion. A spokesperson said the department’s wildlife experts are still figuring out those details.

Despite the potential danger, Diaz says it was an incredible experience.

“It’s special to see something that close for as long as we got to, so I’m not complaining about the experience,” she said. “I’m glad she behaved.”