PESCADERO, California: Local authorities said an empty high school classroom in northern California was invaded by a young mountain lion, which crouched under a desk while wildlife officials determined how to remove it.
San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Javier Acosta said the young cougar, which was only some 40 pounds in weight and believed to be six months to one year old, walked into the school in the town of Pescadero as custodial staff were opening the building before the start of classes.
Acosta told Reuters, “The mountain lion very casually walked through campus and went into the classroom and hunkered down under a desk,” adding that a custodian then closed the door to the room to keep the animal trapped inside.
School officials decided to continue with classes, with pupils being kept away from the room while state game personnel decided how to proceed, Acosta said.
“They have been on the property since about 9:30 a.m., formulating a plan to safely and humanely remove the mountain lion from the classroom and return it to its natural habitat,” he said.
Ken Paglia, spokesperson for the California Fish and Wildlife Department, said that since the cougar appeared to be slightly emaciated, biologists on the scene called for a veterinarian to examine it.
If the cat was found to be malnourished or otherwise unhealthy, it might be taken for treatment before being released to the wild, he added, noting that mountain lion sightings are not uncommon in San Mateo County.