Mountain lion koala drama: Famous animal kills at Los Angeles zoo

March 11, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A mountain lion killed a koala at the Los Angeles Zoo, and the story makes headlines. According to the zoo’s director, P-22, a mountain lion that has made Griffith Park his home was caught on camera mauling the koala to death.

Mountain lion koala

On Thursday, March 3, workers at the Los Angeles Zoo discovered that a mountain lion killed a koala. Zoo workers found the body of the koala at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which is a 133-acre zoo founded in 1966 and located in Los Angeles, California.

The animal was found mauled to death, and the killer is a mountain lion with the number P-22 that has been living in Griffith Park. The 7-year-old and 130-pound mountain lion was born in the Santa Monica Mountains and walked across the 405 and 101 Freeways to the Griffith Park wilderness.

John Lewis, the zoo’s director, revealed that the koala’s body was found lying outside of its pen and workers reviewing a surveillance footage that monitors outside wildlife spotted the wild lion killing the koala. Lewis said:

“We were actually looking for bobcats, and what we found on that night was P-22.That was the first time we knew he was getting into the zoo.”

Lewis went on to add that P-22 had not killed zoo animals before, but has been seen eating raccoons near the zoo. The animal expert shared:

“We don’t know how he’s getting in or how he’s getting out, but he was also seen the night the koala disappeared.”

Since the killing of the koala, zoo workers are taking extra precautions like locking up smaller animals in their barns at night. Lewis said:

“The koalas are all off exhibit. They’re in a safe place.”

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said in a written statement that he believes that the lion should be moved. He declared:

“Regardless of what predator killed the koala, this tragedy just emphasizes the need to contemplate relocating P-22 to a safer, more remote wild area where he has adequate space to roam without the possibility of human interaction. P-22 is maturing, will continue to wander and runs the risk of a fatal freeway crossing as he searches for a mate. As much as we love P-22 at Griffith Park, we know the park is not ultimately suitable for him. We should consider resettling him in the environment he needs.”

Ryu thinks that Lewis is wrong and that the lion should not be relocated. Ryu said:

“The park is considered an essential link in Southern California’s wildlife corridor, stretching from Santa Monica to the Verdugo Mountain Ranges, it should be preserved as a linchpin in the survival of Southern California’s native ecosystems.”

He went on to reveal:

“The incident at the Los Angeles Zoo is incredibly unfortunate; however, relocating P22 would not be in the best interest of protecting our wildlife species. Mountain lions are a part of the natural habitat of Griffith Park and the adjacent hillsides.”

He concluded by explaining that it is necessary to preserve species like mountain lions because it makes for “healthier ecosystems that benefit us all.”

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