Coronavirus: Wild puma captured in deserted Chile capital

A puma climbs a wall before being captured in Santiago, Chile, March 24, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS
A puma walks along a street in Santiago, Chile, March 24, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

SANTIAGO (AFP) - A wild puma was captured after it was found wandering around the deserted centre of Santiago in search of food, Chilean authorities said on Tuesday (March 24).

Chile is under a nighttime curfew due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The puma came down to the capital city from nearby surrounding hills.

"This is the habitat they once had and that we've taken away from them," said Marcelo Giagnoni, the director of the agricultural and livestock service that took part in an operation to capture the puma alongside police and the national zoo.

The puma was around a year old and weighed approximately 35kg.

It was transferred to the Santiago zoo to undergo tests.

"The puma is in good health," said Giagnoni.

Last year, another wild puma was rescued after perching on a tree in a densely populated sector of eastern Santiago.

It had been surveying people below for more than 15 hours before it was shot with a tranquilizer dart and fell around 18m onto mats below.

It was released back into the wild with a tracking device, but a few weeks ago it was discovered the puma had died.

Pumas are the second heaviest feline in the Americas after the jaguar and is also known as a cougar, mountain lion, red tiger and catamount depending on where it lives.

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