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Mountain lion shot dead in California

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Tue May 22, 2012
The Santa Monica Police Department released this photo of the mountain lion, taken before it tried to escape and was killed.
The Santa Monica Police Department released this photo of the mountain lion, taken before it tried to escape and was killed.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities in Santa Monica fatally shot a mountain lion Tuesday when it tried to escape
  • Initial efforts to tranquilize the animal failed
  • The animal was first reported just before 6 a.m. in downtown Santa Monica
  • Mountain lion spottings are common in Southern California this time of year

(CNN) -- Authorities in Santa Monica, California, fatally shot a mountain lion Tuesday, acting on public safety concerns after it tried to escape from an office building courtyard in the city.

Initial efforts to tranquilize the animal failed, and "police were forced to use lethal force to prevent that animal from escaping the courtyard and endangering the public," a police statement said.

An officer from the California Department of Fish and Game fired a tranquilizer dart into the animal, which normally takes about 10 minutes to take effect.

In the meantime, authorities used water hoses and "less than lethal" pepper ball rounds in an effort to contain it.

But when the animal tried to escape, authorities say the decision was made to use deadly force.

The mountain lion, which was thought to be a juvenile weighing just under 100 pounds, had apparently strayed in the from the wild and was first reported just before 6 a.m. in downtown Santa Monica after a maintenance worker spotted it, the statement said.

Mountain lion spottings are common in Southern California this time of year, though typically occur away from densely populated areas, according to Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

Unlike bears, they typically shun human contact, he said.

CNN's Stella Chan, Sonya Hamasaki and Chuck Conder contributed to this report.

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