Young mountain lion M317, captured in Newport Beach, was released in the Santa Ana Mountains

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — A young mountain lion named M317 has been spotted across Orange County since being collared in March.

He was last spotted at a community in Newport Beach on Friday.

“They tend to keep moving, and M317 was like that. He was constantly moving after we collared him,” said Dr. Winston Vickers, a UC Davis Wildlife Health Center veterinarian.

M317 was eventually calmed through animal control and moved to more suitable habitat near the highest ridge of the Santa Ana Mountains.

Vickers monitors the big cat.

RELATED: Mountain lion caught after roaming Newport Beach neighborhood

He said M317 appears to be healthy despite all his recent adventures.

“They’re also almost always traveling through unfamiliar terrain, which puts the animal at risk when they encounter freeways like the interstates that he’s been traversing,” Vickers said.

He said it’s not uncommon for the species to travel long distances.

He said M317 has traveled more than 100 miles in the past two months and encountered many roadblocks.

“Freeway 91, he crossed tollway 241, he crossed Interstate 5, plus countless other roads and busy roads,” Vickers said.

Unfortunately, Vickers said the survival rate for this species of animals in Southern California is low because of the dangers they face.

“He’s got the odds somewhat against him, or at least more like 50/50,” he said.

According to Vickers, mountain lions can live up to 13 years in the wild.

He hopes M317 can find territory in the mountains to call home.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Young mountain lion M317, captured in Newport Beach, was released in the Santa Ana Mountains

Laura Coffey

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