We are sad to report the death of P-32, the mountain lion that crossed the 101 Freeway earlier this year. He was struck and killed by a motorist as he attempted to cross Interstate 5 near Castaic Lake in the early morning hours of Monday, August 10. P-32 and his sister P-33 made headlines in April when both cats made separate crossings of the 101. Big cats in the Santa Monica Mountains are hemmed in by highways and it makes it difficult for the animals to breed within a healthy gene pool. Because he was a juvenile, it is believed that P-32 was pushing further north to find a mate away from larger, more aggressive males. He had managed to cross not only the 101, but the 23, the 118 and the 126 highways before meeting his fate on the 5 in the Los Padres Mountains. The only other male puma to make it successfully out of the Santa Monica Mountains is P-22 who currently resides in Griffith Park after traversing both the 405 and 101 highways. P-22, however, is not considered a successful transfer by a Santa Monica puma as he is also hemmed in by highways with no female to mate with. For more information on this story, check out this article from KPCC's Sanden Totten.
Puma 22 was captured recently after backcountry remote cameras snapped photos of the big cat that appeared to show the animal was suffering from the skin disease mange. Wildlife biologists confirmed P-22 had contracted the disease and his blood showed traces of toxins linked to rat poison. The cat appeared somewhat scraggly and was reportedly 10 pounds lighter than his last capture. While the effects of mange on mountain lions is not widely known, local bobcat populations that contract the disease can see their survival rate drop from 75% to around 30%. The biologists gave P-22 a large dose of selacmectin, a topical parasiteacide used to kill mites, fleas and ticks on domestic pets. The large cat was also given injections of Vitamin K to help combat the effects of the rat poison toxins. Though researches are concerned about P-22, his nocturnal behavior still seems to be normal and active. The cat has traveled throughout the park, ranging from Glendale Peak in the east to Cahuenga Peak in the west, preferring the hilly areas to the flatlands. His roaming has taken him out of the park as well. P-22 was recently caught on security cameras on Hollyridge Drive in the Hollywood Hills. View footage here.
As proof of their wariness of humans, biologists point to Griffith Park’s resident cougar, P-22, short for Puma 22. P-22, a young male mountain lion, entered the park in February of 2012 and has been living quietly on the north slopes above the Forest Lawn Cemetery and the Travel Town train museum. While he has been photographed on National Park Service remote cameras, and more recently by National Geographic photographer Steve Winter, P-22 has remained elusive to the thousands of park visitors who tramp daily over his territory. What makes his story so intriguing is not just that a mountain lion has taken up residence in an urban park within eyesight of Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles, but that he made it there to begin with. DNA testing have shown that P-22 comes from the stock of cats residing in the Santa Monica Mountains and had to cross both the 405 and 101 highways to reach Griffith Park.
While there seems to be little risk to humans, authorities urge park visitors and local residents to take precautions to prevent antagonizing the cats or making them feel threatened. The California Department of Fish and Game has prepared a list of safety tips (see side bar) to help mitigate attracting a mountain lion’s attention and what to do should one encounter a mountain lion in the wild, even if the wild comes to your backyard.
For more information on P-22 in Griffith Park, read this article from the Los Angeles Times:
Scientists Track Cougar's Wild Nightlife Above Hollywood
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