Wednesday morning before students or teachers had arrived at Pescadero High school in Pescadero, California, the custodian charged with opening the school arrived and began work.
It was the second-to-last day of school before summer break, a common time for seniors to plan pranks or goodbyes.
But the custodian was not alone that early morning: A young mountain lion had also ventured onto the school grounds, prowling around and checking out the place.
“The mountain lion casually walked through campus and decided to go into an English classroom,” Detective Javier Acosta with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said, according to CBS News. “The custodian acted quickly and managed to shut the door behind it.”
We’re not sure of the context, but this appears to be a mountain lion inside a Pescadero High classroom this morning. Sheriff says everyone is safe. We’re working on more details. Photo courtesy School staff pic.twitter.com/z8MA4yi00N
— Half Moon Bay Review (@hmbreview) June 1, 2022
The juvenile cougar was only around 40 pounds and looked “lost and scared,” but it was still a wild animal, unpredictable and dangerous as it stayed curled up under the teacher’s desk.
Amy Wooliever, superintendent for the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District, said that given the timing of the incident and its uniqueness, at first she thought a senior could be behind the big cat’s presence.
“We have had occasions where a mountain lion has walked by the elementary school along the ridge and such, so we are used to that out here,” she said.
“But, having one in a classroom — I honestly thought it was a senior prank at first because it was the day before school is out.”
The cat was tranquilized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and taken to the Oakland Zoo, where it was determined to be around 6 months old, underweight and suffering from a fractured tooth.
“We just received another rescued mountain lion,” the Oakland Zoo shared on Wednesday. “This 6-8 month old male was discovered at Pescadero High School. (Students and staff were safe and had been dismissed from school at the time).
“The mountain lion was found in a classroom, hiding under a teacher’s desk. California Department of Fish and Wildlife was called in to sedate the mountain lion and bring him to us.
“Here at our veterinary hospital, Dr. Herman and her team examined the mountain lion. He has a badly fractured tooth that will need to be extracted. He is larger and older than Rose, who we received and have been caring for since April.
“Like Rose, this mountain lion is sadly too young to be able to survive on his own in the wild. He will be placed at an accredited zoo, under the discretion of Oakland Zoo and California Fish & Wildlife. Until then, we will take care of him here.”
The zoo has promised to keep its followers updated on his status.
“Our newest hospital patient, the mountain lion cub rescued from a Pescadero school, was active and mobile over his first night,” the zoo shared on Thursday.
“He is now in the hospital ward and we have offered him an expansion into an enriched (logs, hay, etc) outside stall to make him more comfortable. He has been laying low most of the day (see video) and we’ll share another update soon.”
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