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  1. ITV Report

California firefighters rescue mountain lion stuck up a tree

The big cat was perched on a branch about 50 feet (15 meters) high. Credit: San Bernardino County Fire

US firefighters have rescued a very large cat - a mountain lion - from a tree outside someone's home in the Southern California desert.

San Bernardino County firefighters, who had to battle huge wildfires last year, were alerted to the big cat on Saturday after a homeowner spotted the animal on his property near the edge of the San Bernardino Mountains.

They found the large mountain lion perched on a branch about 50 feet (15 meters) high.

It was secured into a rescue harness and eventually lowered safely to the ground, where it was evaluated by a Fish & Wildlife biologist before being released back into the wild.

Firefighters may have thought they were on their way to a routine cat rescue before they saw this image. Credit: San Bernardino County Fire

"It is common for young mountain lions to wander outside what some would consider normal habitat in an attempt to establish their territory," said Fish & Wildlife biologist Kevin Brennan.

Fish & Wildlife Warden Rick Fischer remarked that without the help of San Bernardino County firefighters it would have been difficult to extract the animal safely.

He said that while human attacks are rare, mountain lions have been known to attack family pets and livestock.

State wildlife personnel tranquilised the animal. Credit: San Bernardino County Fire

He added: "Leaving the lion in the tree would not have been safe for the community."

At the time of this release the mountain lion has been released by Fish & Wildlife officials.

“Once the lion regained consciousness we ensured he safely returned to his suitable habitat,” Mr Fischer said.