A young male mountain lion died in surgery at Oakland Zoo in the United States on Friday after police shot him, a zoo spokesperson said.
“We got a call from California Fish and Wildlife service that a young mountain lion had unfortunately been shot in the chest,” Alex Herman, vice president of veterinary services at Oakland Zoo, said.
“(Fish and Wildlife) brought the young male mountain lion. He weighs about 75 pounds. He’s beautiful, in great condition, well fed, everything good. Probably just a young guy questing for turf, like they do at that age,” Herman said. “They can range probably 100 miles in any direction looking for a good place to settle down as an adult. Unfortunately, he was shot.”
A resident of the city of Hollister saw the one-year-old mountain lion on their front porch and called the police, according to a statement by the Hollister Police Department. When police officers and wildlife officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived, the mountain lion was hiding in a bush.
“The mountain lion was in a bush in a front yard of a residence in Hollister. So we did not consider the mountain lion to be a public safety threat. He had not acted aggressively,” Mike Perin, public information officer at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said. “So our goal was to tranquilize the mountain lion.”
“So our officers attempted to dart the animal, to dart the mountain lion. And when they did so, the mountain lion kind of ran out of the bush. And Hollister Police Department officers fired shots at the mountain lion,” Perin said.
“The mountain lion charged from the bush directly towards a police officer stationed in an effort to keep him contained. Fearing for the life and safety of the officer, two officers fired their rifles at the mountain lion,” the Hollister Police Department statement read.
“Ultimately, however, we could not place the life of the animal above human life, which is why the officers fired their rifles at the scene,” it added.
Wildlife officers examined the mountain lion and found a “pass-through bullet wound to his torso,” Perin said. The animal was still alive and transported to Oakland Zoo to be treated.
“It looks like the bullet went in through his chest and out of his abdomen. The bullet is not in his body anymore,” Herman said. The mountain lion was given antibiotics and pain medication and was wrapped in saran wrap to compress the wounds until emergency surgery could be performed. He died just before 3 pm on Friday during his surgery.