ARCHIVE: Published Tuesday, September 10, 2019

These wild animals can use the banks of rivers, lots, and farms as passageways, in search of prey. / Ian Thomson - Coastal Jaguar Conservation courtesy photo.

Authorities warn of transit of wild cats in urban areas

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The authorities of the National System of Conservation Areas warn about the recent sightings of wild cats in urban areas.

According to specialists, pumas have been reported traveling at night near a residential area, in the community of Escazú*, in the province of San José.

Although the visit and detection of a wild cat in urban areas are somewhat rare, it is not entirely impossible.

"The transit of the animal itself is not causing for alarm since the presence of these animals in an urban area is possible because the Central Valley is surrounded by protected wild areas," said the specialists.

These wild animals can use the banks of rivers, lots, and farms as passageways, in search of prey. Wild cats feed on raccoons, foxes, and sloths, among other small animals.

According to specialists, cougars "are not dangerous to humans, because they prefer to go unnoticed and when they encounter us they flee," said the specialists in its statement.

However, under certain circumstances, the transit of a wild cat in urban areas may compromise the safety of people or pets. This happens when people do not know the appropriate way to act when they see a wild animal.

Because of this, specialists call on people to consider the following tips if they see a wild cat:

1. Keep calm.

2. Report the animal to 911.

3. Do not try to photograph the animal, follow it, scare it with sounds, sudden movements, or throw objects at it.

4. Go indoors until specialists ensure the animal has left the area.

5. Notify the neighbors the animal is in the area.

To prevent animals from reaching urban areas, properly handle garbage to keep them from looking for food.

Related to the recent puma caught in an urban zone, as A.M. Costa Rica reported on March, the park rangers of Braulio Carrillo National Park*, released the wild cat found in the town of Tibás* in the province of San José.

According to Pablo Vásquez of the National System of Conservation Areas, "it was a large puma, the animal comes right from the forest, what we did was anesthetize it and move it to a natural area, where the animal can continue its life safely."

The feline's capture operation was in the charge of firefighters officials, police officers, specialists of the National System of Conservation Areas and specialists of the Ministry of Environment.

According to the specialists, the puma was a young adult male, in good physical condition and completely wild.

Once the animal was anesthetized, blood and tissue samples were taken for DNA and disease analysis. He was checked for parasites and a satellite collar was attached so he could be tracked after his release in the Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Have you seen any wild animals traveling through your community?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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