KGO-TV/ABC7 via Associated Press
- A 50-pound mountain lion that ran loose through San Francisco is suspected of killing three marsupials in the city’s zoo.
- The zoo said it’s investigating the deaths of two wallaroos and one red kangaroo.
- Before the mountain lion was found, police had warned the city that it was likely “confused and lost,” and to “make yourself appear big and shout” if they encountered it.
- The mountain lion was eventually captured, miles away from the zoo, last week and released back into the wild after an examination at the Oakland Zoo.
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A young mountain lion that roamed through San Francisco’s streets for several days before its capture last week is suspected of killing three marsupials at the local zoo.
The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens told The New York Times in a statement that the zoo was investigating the matter and conducting DNA testing after two wallaroos and a red kangaroo were found dead on June 12.
“It is speculated that the juvenile mountain lion used the coastline to explore our fair city and entered the zoo on this journey,” the zoo said.
That means the mountain lion would have somehow accessed the zoo’s “Australian WalkAbout” exhibit housing its marsupials, also known as “pouched animals.”
San Francisco police said the mountain lion was captured safely, roughly eight miles from the zoo, and tweeted a picture showing the cougar crouched beneath some trees near an apartment building.
An Animal Care and Control spokeswoman told the Associated Press the 50-pound animal was in rough shape when it was captured.
“In 24 hours, it only moved a few blocks. The poor guy really needed some help,” she said.
Before the mountain lion was found, police had warned the city that it was likely “confused and lost,” and to “make yourself appear big and shout” if they encountered it.
The Oakland Zoo examined the mountain lion after its capture, and tweeted a video showing his release back into the wild.
Other photos and videos showed staff heaving the sedated animal onto an examination table, where it was given oxygen.
One biologist told The Times that the mountain lion was 15 months old and too young to leave its mother.
The deaths of the three San Francisco Zoo animals were probably “surplus killings,” meaning its instinct to kill corralled prey took over, said Zara McDonald of the Felidae Conservation Fund’s Bay Area Puma Project. “It’s likely not a coincidence that this happened and that this juvenile mountain lion was in the city at the same time.”
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