A mountain lion that has attracted media attention for its forays will soon be captured from its habitat in Los Angeles’ Griffith Urban Park.
California National Wildlife Federation Regional Executive Beth Pratt issued a statement earlier this week explaining that P-22, the famous lion, has recently changed behavior and will be captured and examined. Next steps will then be determined.
The P-22 has recently increased its presence in highly populated areas outside of Griffith Park range. He attacked two Chihuahuas, killing one, and authorities are concerned that things could escalate as he roams populated areas.
“The P-22 has always been in an unprecedented position,” said a statement from Pratt. “Never before has a mountain lion lived in such an urban environment in one of the world’s most densely populated cities. It is also a remarkably old mountain lion, living well beyond the normal life expectancy of its kind, and may now be showing signs of distress. Although Always affected by the isolation caused by the highways, as P-22 ages, the challenges associated with living on a home island seem to increase and the scientists note a recent change in his behaviour.”
Mountain lion experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Park Service in the Santa Monica National Recreation Area (NPS) plan to capture the P-22, Pratt said. After a health assessment, vets will determine next steps for him.
“The people involved in its capture and evaluation are some of the best wildlife biologists in the world who have studied P-22 and other mountain lions for decades. We trust them to make a good decision,” Pratt said.
She added a warning to the public not to attempt to assist in capture and evaluation.
P-22 has lived for over a decade in Griffith Park, the largest urban park in the United States. It helped and hindered him. While his survival has not been challenged by a younger lion, as is usually the case in the wild, the P-22 has been isolated by busy highways that do not have wilderness barriers that allow him access to wider spaces.
“The P-22 has given us so much,” Pratt said. “He is a lovable wild mountain lion who survived against all odds, and his ordeal of being trapped in Griffith Park after making the perilous journey down two of the nation’s busiest highways has shown the world just how damaging our roads are to mountain lions and all wildlife.”
The famous mountain lion P-22 (actually a male cougar) was spotted at the densely populated hipster sanctuary Silver Lake, a residential and commercial section of Los Angeles. The area is very urban and trafficked, and is about a mile to a mile and a half from Griffith Park’s usual range on the P-22, where it generally sticks to the high mountain country and is rarely seen by humans.
While the 12-year-old P-22 could be considered a dangerous wild animal, his celebrity status is indisputable, and area neighbors report sightings with something akin to joy. A National Geographic photo spread, which led to a 2017 documentary, the cat that changed america, A museum exhibit, children’s coloring book, and mural in Watts, a borough of South Los Angeles.
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