Mountain lion captured in Ventana Ranch

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Game and Fish officials say they captured a mountain lion at the Ventana Ranch Apartments Tuesday morning and were forced to euthanize it.

Officials said the adult female lion was first spotted at a construction site near Paseo and Universe.

A conservation officer was trying to locate her when a groundskeeper at the nearby Ventana Ranch Apartments spotted the lion sitting in some bushes in front of an apartment.

Officials didn’t have many details about the lion itself except that it was not afraid of humans.

“In these cases where we have a mountain lion or another large predator that is showing no fear of humans, it’s possible that the animal can start to see humans as a food source directly,” said Ryan Darr with New Mexico Game and Fish. “The same thing with their pets. And in those cases, we see a higher incidence of attacks on pets and humans. And so these animals are considered a public safety threat and a danger.”

This was the second mountain lion sighting in the metro in about a month. You might remember this photo of a lion chilling on a Rio Rancho woman’s back porch.

Game and Fish officials tranquilized that lion a few weeks ago and were able to safely take it away.

Experts suggest the rather weak monsoon is playing a role in these sightings.

“What we have seen, especially this year, as we have gone on with warm and dry conditions, and essentially no monsoon, we’re seeing quite a few wild animals, including mountain lions and bears, that are moving out of undeveloped areas into urban areas in search of food and water,” Darr said.

Mountain lion and bear sightings are not uncommon in New Mexico. It’s important to remember we’re living in historic mountain lion habitats.

Darr said homeowners can keep them away by removing direct water sources and garbage from their yards, and even removing shade structures. If you do encounter one, make as much noise as possible to scare them away.

Statement from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish:

“A Department conservation officer responded to reports of a female mountain lion that was seen near a construction site at Paseo del Norte and Universe Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning. The officer was attempting to locate the animal in this area when additional reports began coming in that a mountain lion had been spotted in the Ventana Ranch Apartments near the intersection of Universe Blvd. and Irving Blvd. NW.

The officer spoke with a groundskeeper at the apartment complex, who stated that he had seen a mountain lion in the bushes near the front door of one of the apartments. The groundskeeper also said a delivery driver had seen the same mountain lion near the apartments. After locating the mountain lion, Department officers, with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department, tranquilized the animal and transported it off-site.

The animal was later euthanized, as it showed no fear of humans throughout its interactions, and relocating the animal could have created future public safety threats.”