Mountain lion seen roaming San Francisco killed on Highway 1

A young mountain lion that was captured last month after roaming the streets of San Francisco and then released into a wilderness preserve was found dead Friday on the shoulder of a highway in Northern California, authorities said.

The mountain lion was found on the shoulder of Highway 1 near Pacifica, said Mark Andrews, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol. The vehicle that apparently hit the animal did not stop.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed it was the same cougar spotted last month wandering around San Francisco for a couple days before being captured near Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

Widely shared photo and video images showed the cougar crossing city streets and looking at his reflection in the glass of office towers.

After being captured, the big cat was examined at the Oakland Zoo before California Fish and Wildlife officials released it at a wilderness preserve in mid-June with an identifying tag in its ear.

On Friday, fish and wildlife authorities verified the cougar’s identity by its ear tag, said Ken Paglia, a spokesman for the fish and wildlife department.

The young male mountain lion was 12-18 months old and weighed about 70 pounds, Paglia said.

Prior to its death, the mountain lion was suspected of killing two wallaroos and a red kangaroo at the San Francisco Zoo. The three animals were found dead at their outdoor exhibit and the zoo said it appeared a local wild carnivore was responsible. The zoo said it was investigating whether the cougar was the culprit.

As many as 100 mountain lions are struck and killed by vehicles in California every year, Paglia said.