Mountain lion found trapped inside Bay Area high school classroom taken to Oakland Zoo for treatment

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Thursday, June 2, 2022
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A mountain lion was found in a classroom at Pescadero High School and was taken to the Oakland Zoo for assessment on Wednesday.

PESCADERO, Calif. -- A mountain lion made an unexpected visit to a classroom at Pescadero High School Wednesday morning.

Students were locked down and eventually released early while a plan to safely get that mountain lion out of the classroom was formulated.

The district says that it's not unheard of for a mountain lion to come close to campus but never inside a classroom.

Students and staff were safe, as was the mountain lion who is being described by officials as a juvenile male.

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The commotion happened just before 8:30 Wednesday morning as students were set to start their second-to-last day of the school year.

"I walk into the hallway, everyone's frantic," student Mairol Hernandez said. "I asked what's going on and they were like 'Just get into the classroom! Get into the classroom!'"

The school district superintendent tells us that the mountain lion cub wandered into the school as students were arriving for the day.

"It was right before school," said Amy Wooliever, Superintendent of La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District. "The door had been left open as a student had exited and then the cat went in."

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The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office says a quick-thinking staff member closed the door and was able to keep the mountain lion inside an English classroom where it spent most of the day.

No students or staff were inside the classroom at the time.

Just after 3 p.m., The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was able to get the mountain lion out of the classroom.

"We used a dart tranquilizer rifle to put a drug mix into the animal through the dart and it went down smoothly, no problems," said John Krause, with Fish and Wildlife.

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Krause says the animal was skinny but seemed otherwise healthy.

It was taken to the Oakland Zoo where officials determined the male mountain lion is six to eight months old and weighs about 24.5 pounds.

Zoo officials say he has a badly fractured tooth that will eventually need to be taken out but that won't happen until he has recovered a bit. They say he is too young to survive on his own, so he will be placed at an accredited zoo when he makes a full recovery.

The unexpected visitor had a major impact on school activities, Thursday is the last day of school, and finals were scheduled for Wednesday along with eighth-grade graduation.

The district is working on rescheduling those activities.