Puma Profiles: P-022

Mountain lion walking down mountain side with Hollywood sign in the background.

Male. Lives in Griffith Park.
Initial capture date:
2012 (123 lbs)

P-022 is our most famous mountain lion and known as our “Hollywood Cat”. He is a resident of Griffith Park in the city of Los Angeles and, at the time of his last recapture, he weighed 123 lbs. At about 11 years old, he is the oldest cat in our study. For a cat in the wild, that is a very old cat!

The oldest mountain lion that we have documented during our study was approximately 12 years old (that was P-001, P-022’s father). Maybe it’s in the genes?

There’s so much more to this male mountain lion than living around the Hollywood Sign (although that National Geographic photo sure is pretty cool)!

His presence was first documented in early 2012 by a camera trap set up by the Griffith Park Connectivity Study.

At the time of his capture, he was estimated to be about a year-and-a-half old and weighed 90 lbs. Shortly after that, NPS biologists captured and outfitted him with a GPS radio collar in March 2012. He has been living in Griffith Park since at least February 2012!

What makes P-022 especially unique is that he somehow made his way into Griffith Park, the eastern flank of the Santa Monica Mountains, from the western side, where he was born to P-001 and an unknown female lion. That meant he likely crossed two major Los Angeles freeways, the 405 and 101, a feat other lions have died trying to do.

His safe passage into and life in the park is a testament to the wild spaces remaining in Los Angeles, but his story isn’t one of total success.

Griffith Park so far has proved just as much of an island of habitat as the rest of the Santa Monicas, if not more. Hemmed in by freeways and urban sprawl on all sides, it is difficult for lions to disperse and define their own territory and eventually mate. The nine square miles of Griffith Park may be P-022’s territory, but it is sorely too small -- by a factor of about 31! -- for an adult male. As an isolated patch of habitat, it’s unlikely he will ever find love with a female lion.

P-022 first graced the front page of the Los Angeles Times in August of 2012, shortly after he was first discovered. He has since become a sort of ambassador for urban wildlife. In January of 2017, he landed on the front page again, this time with a "week in the life" feature story that shed insight into his movements and diet.

He's also made headlines across the city and country a few other times. In 2014, he developed a case of mange, which was successfully treated by our researchers. In 2015, his presence under a home in Los Feliz, a Los Angeles neighborhood adjacent to Griffith Park, became a live news event as local officials tried to get him to leave. When the commotion died down, he left on his own in the early dark hours of the morning. And in 2016, he was suspected of killing a koala at the L.A. Zoo.

Since then, this older cat has kept chill and stayed out of the limelight. Regardless, we still think P-022 has got it going on!

P-021 | Back to Puma Profiles Homepage | P-023

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Last updated: July 14, 2022