Mountain lion invader doing well in the Pine Nuts

Two weeks after a 120-pound mountain lion burst into the guest bedroom of Andy and Tracy Chapman's Zephyr Cove home, things are returning to normal for the family and the feline.

The 4-year-old cat was held overnight in Gardnerville and treated for cuts on his nose and paw. It was released Feb. 7 east of Gardnerville in the Pine Nut Mountains.

John Beckmann, a doctorate student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who uses tracking devices to study the movement of mountain lions and bears, said the Chapmans' intruder is doing fine. The wounds have healed and "he looks really good."

For the animal's protection, Beckmann did not want to disclose the cougar's whereabouts. He saw the cat Feb. 18 during an aerial tracking sweep in a Cessna 206.

"We definitely want to stay in touch with how (the animal) is doing," Tracy Chapman said.

According to wildlife officials, the Chapmans' 2 a.m. visitor on Feb. 6 attacked its own reflection in the bedroom window and landed inside, where Chapmans' guest, Kay Packard, of Los Angeles, was sleeping.

Packard never saw the big cat. She mistook the crashing noises for an earthquake and hid beneath the covers.

The cougar exited the room before anyone in the house saw it. Andy Chapman boarded the window and everyone did their best to try and sleep until daybreak. Later that morning, Chapman noticed his dog staring into a tree. The cougar was spotted 25 feet up among the branches.

It took wildlife officials nearly seven hours to sedate the lion with a tranquilizer gun. The animal was shackled and tagged with a radio collar so that he could be monitored by UNR researchers.

Repairs have been made to the Chapmans' spare bedroom except for the shattered sliding mirror closet door. Insurance will cover most of the damage, estimated at $1,000.

"We've decided to keep the window ledge that has claw marks on it," she said, as evidence of their visitor for future guests.

Tracy said that Packard has had second thoughts about staying in the room again. "She definitely wasn't herself for a few days."

The cougar's visit thrust the Chapmans into the public eye. The family was bombarded with local and national radio talk shows, television crews and various newspaper reporters.

The coverage prompted friends from as far away as Florida and Chicago to call Tracy Chapman's parents and ask, "Is that really them?"

In the meantime, Tracy has been busy clipping news articles about the incident and arranging them in baby books for their daughters, 3-year-old Riley and 7-month-old Drue.

"They are too young to know what happened," Tracy said.


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