First Mountain Lion in California Released Back to Wild Found Dead

Photo: Cougar Conservancy/Buzz Marshall

MONROVIA (CNS) - A female mountain lion rescued in Monrovia last year after being injured in the Bobcat Fire and subsequently returned to the wild has been found dead, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

“Monrovia,'' as she was affectionately named, was treated for burn injuries to all four of paw pads last fall and became the first mountain lion to be rehabilitated and released back to the wild in California.

The lioness spent 10 months in the wild after her release and claimed a territory in the San Gabriel Mountains spanning roughly the distance of Azusa to Burbank -- about 67 square miles, with data from her satellite collar indicating that she died around Aug. 15 in the mountains above her namesake, Monrovia, according to a posting on Facebook by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

She died at the bottom of a deep canyon, and it took some time for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to reach her body.

“Although a field necropsy was ultimately unable to determine the cause of her death, the data we received from her collar shows that she successfully lived within the urban-wildland interface for nearly a year without ever being involved in human-mountain lion contact. This further illustrates that mountain lions can and do live among the communities in San Gabriel foothills,'' the Department of Fish and Wildlife said.

She was believed to be roughly 6 or 7 years old at the time she was rescued in September 2020, and was subsequently treated in Sacramento by wildlife veterinarians from the UC Davis School of Medicine and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Mountain lions can live up to 10 years in the wild.

The mountain lion gained 19 pounds on a diet of deer, rabbit and beef while being treated for “serious burns'' to all four of her paws, and was released about 15 to 20 miles from Monrovia, so she was not put back into a fire-damaged area, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said shortly after her release last October.

Monrovia was subsequently seen multiple times via trail cameras -- walking with a male cat in one instance and appearing to have been healthy -- and was able to successfully hunt and kill deer after being released back to the wild, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We're all very devastated today,'' said Korinna Domingo, the founder/director of the Cougar Conservancy. “To us, she's more than just a number.''

The organization had been notified last year about the injured mountain lion by a resident who spotted her licking her paws, which were later determined to be burned and bleeding, and the ailing mountain lion likely would have starved to death without intervention, Domingo said last year.

The injured animal was rescued last Sept. 22 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which subsequently treated her in Sacramento along with wildlife veterinarians from the UC Davis School of Medicine.

People from throughout the world were captivated by the story of the mountain lion that the Cougar Conservancy named “Monrovia,'' according to Domingo, who said the organization will go forward with a previously planned tribute, detailed on its website (

“She literally changed the history of mountain lions to come after her,'' Domingo said.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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