PESCADERO, Calif. (KRON) — A quick-thinking custodian safely confined a curious cougar in an empty classroom after it entered a Northern California high school Wednesday morning, authorities said.
“The mountain lion casually walked through campus and decided to go into an English classroom,” said Detective Javier Acosta with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. “The custodian acted quickly and managed to shut the door behind it.”
The sheriff’s office shared a photo of the big cat curled up inside Pescadero High School.
The superintendent of the school district said the mountain lion, which has been described as a cub, likely entered the classroom before school started and there were no students in the classroom at the time.
The sheriff’s office confirmed Wednesday morning that all students and staff were safe, adding that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were notified for a “safe and humane removal.”
Acosta said the animal is estimated to be approximately 40 pounds and appeared “lost and scared.”
The incident occurred two days before the school year was scheduled to end. Finals and a graduation ceremony were originally scheduled for Wednesday. Both will now likely be postponed.
A spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told Nexstar’s KRON that because of the cub’s age and because it is possibly not in the best state of health, the agency doesn’t know whether it can survive in the wild.
Authorities said Wednesday the cat would be transported to the Oakland Zoo, where veterinarians will evaluate its health and then take appropriate next steps.
In a Tweet posted on Wednesday evening, the Oakland Zoo shared a video of the mountain lion arriving at the zoo. The cat appeared to be sedated while Dr. Alex Herman, Vice President of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo, and a team of staff members at the veterinary hospital completed a checkup.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.