Urban wild life, LA style. Wikimedia Commons

A koala bear that was found dead in Los Angeles municipal zoo was likely to have been killed by a wild mountain lion who is surviving in the urban mountains around the city.

Zoo workers found the mauled, partially eaten corpse of the 14-year-old female koala named Killarney outside its pen and spotted the mountain lion on surveillance tape the same night.

Zoo director John Lewis told AP: "We were actually looking for bobcats," adding that instead, they spotted the local mountain lion who has been dubbed P-22 and is believed to have breached the zoo's fence.

"That was the first time we knew he was getting into the zoo," Lewis said.

The big seven-year-old male mountain lion has been living for years in Los Angeles' 4,335-acre Griffith Park, an area of wilderness surrounded by urban sprawl. The big cat has also been spotted in the Hollywood Hills as well as in backyards.

"That is not a prop people. That is a real animal and we are not on a safari," said one resident who filmed P-22 in her backyard.

P-22 wears a tracking collar and was famously photographed near the Hollywood sign for National Geographic.

Zoo workers are now taking extra precautions, such as locking up smaller animals in barns at night.

There are a number of mountain lions living in the area. In April 2015, a mountain lion less than two years old and identified as P-32 was found dead on Highway 101.

He was the 12th mountain lion found dead on Los Angeles area roads since wildlife officials began tracking them in 2002.