updated 5/26/2009 4:33:34 PM ET 2009-05-26T20:33:34

Officials at a Kansas zoo are trying to figure out how a 150-pound mountain lion escaped from its enclosure.

The 14-year-old female was shot and killed by police at the Great Bend Zoo on Sunday evening.

Zoo director Mike Cargill tells KAKE-TV the mountain lion escaped during feeding time shortly before closing and staff quickly moved the few zoo-goers in the area to safety.

Cargill says visitors were never in danger but the situation was "deteriorating quickly." The big cat was frightened and had a history of being somewhat aggressive.

Tranquilizer darts would have taken a half-hour to arrive so police were called in.

Great Bend police shot and killed the cougar as it crouched in the bushes next to the bobcat exhibit.

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