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Smith: A mountain lion takes up residence in outer Petaluma

It goes without saying: the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue volunteers and donors who just moved a beautiful young mountain lion into a spacious enclosure wish she could be out in nature, doing what mountain lions are supposed to do.

Now six months old and weighing 40 pounds, this cougar was tiny, sick and presumably orphaned when it was found wandering in Trinity County in April. She’s healthy now, but absent the hunting and survival skills she would have learned from her mother, she can’t be released back to the wild.

So she’ll be a permanent resident of the rescue operation there on a hilltop off Mecham Road, near the main landfill.

Director Doris Duncan and the crew hope the people who come see her will not only marvel but gain a greater appreciation of mountain lions and the need to value and protect them.

There are public tours at the rescue enter every Saturday at 2 p.m. If you’ve never been out there, prepare to be impressed.

And not only by the mountain lion.

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