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Home / Neighborhood / Orange County / Mountain lion spotted near elementary school in Newport Beach

Mountain lion spotted near elementary school in Newport Beach

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A mountain lion spotted in Newport Beach Friday that authorities said is likely the same one seen earlier this month in Laguna Beach was caught and tranquilized.

The lion was spotted in the Port Streets neighborhood near Andersen Elementary School, according to Newport Beach police.

A sighting was around the 1900 block of Port Cardigan Place, according to city spokesman John Pope.

The lion was seen in a side yard of a home on Port Cardigan, Pope said. A Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist was able to tranquilize the animal with a dart, he added.

After it was hit with a dart the lion ran to a backyard on Port Albans, where the drug put it to sleep, Pope said.

Fish and Wildlife workers removed the cat and loaded it on a truck to be relocated, Pope said.

The school was put on alert while authorities searched for the lion, which authorities believe to be M317, a collared cat that was seen in Laguna Beach earlier this month and at an Irvine shopping center in late March. The lion is one being tracked by a UC Davis research group.

“It appears to be the same mountain lion,” said Tim Daly of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Annette Franco, a spokeswoman for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, said after sheltering in place the students were later safely picked up.

Drones were used to aid in the search, Pope said. Officials said they believe the recent Coastal Fire in Laguna Beach may have pushed some wildlife from their natural habitats into the urban areas, Pope said.

Residents were advised to keep their pets and small children indoors.

Anyone seeing dangerous wildlife was asked to call 911.

Updated May 20, 2022, at 11:36 p.m.

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