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A koala from the LA Zoo.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/PaulA koala from the LA Zoo.

P-22 mountain lion is the main suspect in LA Zoo koala death

Kate Wertheimer

It's a sad day indeed for our furry friends. P-22, the city's beloved mountain lion of Griffith Park, is believed to be responsible for the mauling and ultimate death of an LA Zoo koala. The koala (who didn't appear to have a name) was found dead about 400 yards from her enclosure last week, according to recent reports from NBC Los Angeles.

When Zoo officials reviewed surveillance footage of the night of the koala's death, they saw P-22. Turns out, he's been waltzing in and out of the Zoo for some time now, most likely to eat another type of Zoo trespasser: raccoons. But P-22 has never attacked a zoo animal before. The Zoo is taking extra precautions—keeping smaller animals inside their barns at night, and moving the remaining koalas to a safer enclosure.

Meanwhile, there's some debate as to the future home of P-22. John Lewis, the director of the LA Zoo, doesn't believe P-22 to be an ongoing threat to Zoo animals. Griffith Park is P-22's home, Lewis says, and it should stay that way. Mayor Eric Garcetti's office released a statement saying that, with a zoo in such close proximity to one of the largest urban parks in the country, things are bound to happen. LA City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell believes P-22 should be relocated, as his interactions with city folk (and, er, city zoo animals) has become more and more frequent. The concern isn't just for our safety, but P-22's safety as well.

Do you think P-22 should remain in the Griffith Park wilderness, or be relocated to a more remote area? Let us know in the comments below!

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