POLSON – It’s not unheard of for someone to report a cat stuck in a tree, but the call that came in this week in Polson had a couple of twists to it.
For one, the cat was a mountain lion. Two, it was on top of a utility pole.
The young female was released back into the wild Thursday, a day after wildlife biologists from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes tranquilized her.
The 60-pound mountain lion fell from the pole before they were able to get her into a lift bucket, but was not injured.
CSKT spokesman Rob McDonald documented the rescue with photographs and videos, and the piece he posted to the Char Koosta News website had been viewed more than 35,000 times less than 48 hours later, as it quickly made its way around social media sites, including Facebook.
On Friday, McDonald said that the BBC and NBC had both called with requests to use the video.
In it, McDonald says biologists Stacy Courville and Shannon Clairmont supervised the rescue. Mission Valley Power, which is operated by the tribes, cut power on the lines so they could maneuver around the pole south of Polson.
CSKT and Polson police, Lake County sheriff's deputies and game wardens directed traffic around the site as the rescue operation unfolded, drawing several onlookers.
The mountain lion was set free north and west of where she had been rescued a day earlier.
The biologists “hope this young one chooses the country life from now on,” McDonald said in a second posting that updated with news of the mountain lion’s release.