• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Mountain Lion Captured, Collared and Released in Griffith Park Area

P-22 (adult male mountain lion)

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News Release Date: April 9, 2012
Contact: Kate Kuykendall, 805-370-2343 or 805-750-9356
Contact: Seth Riley, 805-370-2358 or 805-258-1817

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Biologists from Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) captured a mountain lion in the Griffith Park area on March 28.  After outfitting the lion with a GPS collar, recording measurements and collecting blood and tissue samples, biologists released the animal at the capture site. 

According to Wildlife Ecologist Seth Riley, an expert on urban wildlife with the National Park Service, it is significant for such a large carnivore to be discovered in an area so surrounded by urbanization. "It's a testament to the health of the natural systems in the L.A. area, including Griffith Park, that the full complement of wildlife can persist here. It will be very interesting to see where this animal goes and how long he stays there." 

Named P-22 (for Puma 22), the lion is male and approximately three years old. Scientists with the Griffith Park Wildlife Connectivity Study, conducted by Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc. and the U.S. Geological Survey, first spotted the lion on remotely triggered wildlife cameras in early March. The photos were the first known images of mountain lion activity east of Cahuenga Pass and within the Santa Monica Mountains eco-region.  

Scientists with the Griffith Park Wildlife Connectivity Study alerted the mountain lion specialists at SMMNRA, part of the National Park Service, who captured the lion after nine days of trapping. P-22's DNA will be analyzed at UCLA and UC Davis to provide information about where the mountain lion came from and how he might be related to other lions in the region. 

As part of a decade-long study, SMMNRA is currently tracking five mountain lions, from Point Mugu in the west, Los Padres National Forest in the north, to Griffith Park in the east. The goal of the study is to understand how mountain lions survive in such a fragmented, urban landscape and how best to conserve them. Mountain lions require ample acreage to find mates and sufficient food, often with "home ranges" of up to 250 square miles. Because Griffith Park is only a fraction of that size, scientists do not expect P-22 to stay in the park for an extended period of time. 

Mountain lions are solitary animals and sightings are extremely rare. Out of an abundance of caution, when on a trail, keep small children close to you and dogs on leash. If you do encounter a mountain lion, make yourself appear as intimidating as possible by yelling, waving your arms and even throwing objects. Slowly back away and allow the mountain lion a path to move away. 

About SMMNRA: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. It comprises a seamless network of local, state, and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities.

Did You Know?

Sue Nelson, Jill Swift, and Margo Feurer were instrumental in the movement to create a national recreation area near Los Angeles.

Four state parks were the triumph of a grassroots movement to protect open spaces minutes from Los Angeles in the 1950s & 60s. Three women, Sue Nelson, Jill Swift, and Margo Feuer further galvanized the movement that helped make Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area a reality in 1978.