After series of close encounters, wildlife officials plan capture of P-22 mountain lion

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Friday, December 9, 2022
Wildlife officials plan capture of P-22 mountain lion
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After a series of close encounters with residents and apparent attacks on two dogs, wildlife officials announced plans Thursday to capture and evaluate the health of the Southland's most famous mountain lion, P-22.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After a series of close encounters with residents and apparent attacks on two dogs, wildlife officials announced plans Thursday to capture and evaluate the health of the Southland's most famous mountain lion, P-22.

The lion, one of many Southland-area cats being tracked by National Park Service researchers, has gained fame locally for his persistence and durability, successfully managing to cross both the 405 and 101 freeways to reach his current roaming grounds in the Griffith Park area.

But the cat has made headlines in recent weeks, most notably being blamed for killing a leashed dog last month in the Hollywood Hills and allegedly attacking another in Silver Lake on Sunday.

READ MORE | Dog owner fights off attack on pet by mountain lion P-22 in Silver Lake

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service announced Thursday they plan to capture P-22 to evaluate his health and "determine the best next steps for the animal while also prioritizing the safety of surrounding communities.'' What such steps might entail were not disclosed.

The agencies stated that the cat "may be exhibiting signs of distress.''

"The majority of his time was really spent in the wilder areas of Griffith Park and he would move into the neighborhoods more occasionally, so that's that's the main behavior and that's, we think really, 'What's he trying to do?'" said Beth Pratt, the Regional Executive Director of the California National Wildlife Federation. "Why is that happening with you? We don't know for sure."

Pratt said his age may be playing a role in his behavior.

"Now, 10 to 12 is really stretching it for mountain lions," she said. "Also, he's aging on camera, right? This is something that's kind of unprecedented. To relocate him would likely be a death sentence and that is why it was always something as a last resort," said Pratt.

The agencies stressed that they "do not require assistance'' in capturing the animal, and asked the public to refrain from any efforts to do so.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.