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Mountain lion shot in downtown Santa Monica (+video)

A mountain lion prowling in the courtyard of a Santa Monica office building was fatally shot Tuesday. The National Park Service is monitoring 22 mountain lions in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.

By Associated Press / May 22, 2012

A mountain lion was cornered Tuesday May 22, 2012 in Santa Monica, Calif. After efforts to tranquilize the animal failed, officers were forced to kill the animal to prevent it from escaping onto the streets.

(AP Photo/Santa Monica Police Department)

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Santa Monica, Calif.

A mountain lion discovered in the courtyard of a downtown Santa Monica office building was shot and killed Tuesday as it tried to escape capture.

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Police describe how they tried to capture the mountain lion before shooting it.

Authorities made multiple attempts to try and subdue the young male cat, including use of a tranquilizer, before killing it, said Capt. Daniel Sforza of the state Fish and Game Department.

The mountain lion was found about 6 a.m. by a janitor in the courtyard near a popular open-air mall. The street was cordoned off as a safety precaution.

It wasn't immediately known how the cat ended up in the middle of the city. The National Park Service has been monitoring 22 mountain lions with GPS radio-collars more than two miles away in the Santa Monica Mountains.

A typical home range for mountain lions is around 200 square miles for adult males, said the agency that has been conducting a study since 2002 in the Santa Monica Mountains to determine how urbanization is affecting the large cats.

Hundreds of mountain lion sightings are reported every year in California, but attacks on humans are rare. Between 1890 and 2007, there have only been 16 attacks in the state, according to Fish and Game statistics.

IN PICTURES: Baby Lions

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