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Mountain lion killed in west Las Vegas after escaping backyard cordon

Updated January 17, 2022 - 4:33 pm

A mountain lion was euthanized Monday after escaping a cordon set up by authorities in the backyard of a western Las Vegas home and fleeing into a neighboring residential area.

A Nevada Department of Wildlife game warden shot the big cat in the backyard of a home in the 3900 block of Wainscot Court after repeated attempts to neutralize the animal with a tranquilizer dart proved ineffective.

“It either didn’t get a sufficient enough dose or it was a bounce in and out,” Doug Nielsen, spokesman for the Department of Wildlife, said of the efforts to tranquilize the cat. “We don’t know if it got a partial dose or no dose.”

Authorities first cornered the feline at a home in the 3600 block of Emerald Beach Court near El Capitan Way and Spring Mountain Road just after 9 a.m.

“(The call) was due to a reported mountain lion in the backyard,” Las Vegas police Lt. Brian Boxler wrote in a text. “Officers confirmed that the animal was a mountain lion and requested assistance from the Nevada Division of Wildlife and Clark County Animal Control.”

Boxler said the lion was contained in the backyard and police were “working on a plan with other agencies to safely tranquilize the animal for its safety and the safety of the public.”

But before the cat could be rendered unconscious, it escaped from the backyard and dashed west on Ivory Beach Drive, toward Erva Street. A reporter and photographer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal briefly saw the sizeable cat scurrying down the street. An extensive search by law enforcement followed, with the cat crossing Twain Avenue then into the backyards of a string of residences as a police helicopter circled overhead.

Authorities searched the area for about an hour. They finally located the cat in a tree of the home on Wainscot. The home’s occupant, Yolanda Todd, and her grandchildren were pulling out of their driveway when a swarm of police approached and told them about the cat in their yard, and warned them to get back in the house.

“They think our pitbull scared the mountain lion up into the tree,” Todd said. “Scared me to death.”

She said law enforcement then shot the animal.

“I rushed to one of our windows in our house, and we saw a dead mountain lion,” said Todd’s 17-year-old granddaughter, Kahlonni Ortiz, who added that the “cops came right on time .”

Brandy Everett lives nearby. She wasn’t home at the time, but a video surveillance camera at her house captured images of the cat wandering up to her front door, then into her backyard.

“A little nervewracking,” Everett said. “Worried about my little dogs … they could have been snacks.”

Nielsen said the cat had an ear tag on it, indicating game wardens had already encountered the animal before and relocated it to the Spring Mountains only to have it return to a residential area. He described the cat as a “young Tom, maybe five and a half or six feet long, 100 pounds, probably a couple of years old.”

Monday’s episode was the latest in a string of mountain lion encounters in the western Las Vegas Valley. A mountain lion that roamed a far west Summerlin neighborhood near Vassiliadis Elementary School, 215 Antelope Ridge Drive, in July 2020 was tranquilized and moved back to the Spring Mountains.

In September, another mountain lion in poor health was euthanized after it showed up in the area of Midnight Falls Street and Horse Drive, near the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. Several other mountain lion encounters have also been reported in the valley as well.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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