San Mateo County

Mountain Lion Corralled Inside Classroom at Peninsula High School Taken to Oakland Zoo

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A mountain lion that made its way inside an empty classroom at a Peninsula high school Wednesday was eventually captured and transported to the Oakland Zoo for a health evaluation, according to officials.

A quick-thinking custodian safely confined the curious cougar in the classroom at Pescadero High School after the juvenile cat walked on campus Wednesday morning, officials said.

No injuries were reported, and students and staff were sent home for the day in the interest of public safety, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

"I honestly thought it was a senior prank at first because it is the day before school is out, but I quickly learned, based on the source of the information, that that was not the case," La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District Superintendent Amy Wooliever said.

The custodian was opening the school for the day when the big cat was spotted, sheriff's office Detective Javier Acosta said.

"The mountain lion casually walked through campus and decided to go into an English classroom," he said. "The custodian acted quickly and managed to shut the door behind it."

Photos from the scene showed the animal lying on the classroom floor near a desk.

Acosta said the animal, estimated to be about 40 pounds, appeared "lost and scared."

Wildlife officials who were called to the school tranquilized the mountain lion in order to capture and transport it safely.

Zoo officials plan to perform an evaluation once the mountain lion arrives.

The hours-long ordeal at the school disrupted final exams and forced the postponement of the eighth grade promotion ceremony.

"Definitely not what I was expecting today when I was coming to school," student Jay Alsadir said.

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