Puma Profiles: P-45

Mountain Lion at night.


It’s rare to see more than two adult male mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, but so it is. In November 2015, this large male -- in fact, the largest since P-1-- was captured and outfitted with a GPS collar in the central region of the range. Was he born in the Santa Monicas undetected by researchers? Did he crossover from the 101 Freeway? Genetic testing revealed he was born north of the 101 Freeway.

We are currently unsure about the status of P-45. His collar stopped transmitting GPS points in late February. We made extensive efforts to locate him by listening for the VHF signal, but were unsuccessful. We also have numerous remote cameras in the mountains and have not picked him up on any of those cameras.

P-45 gained national attention when, in November 2016, he was suspected of killing a dozen livestock in one weekend. One of the livestock owners took out a depredation permit, which is allowed under California law, but decided against pursuing P-45. News of the permit spawned a lively debate about mountain lion behavior and how livestock can be protected in mountain lion country. Preying upon unprotected livestock is not considered abnormal or aggressive mountain lion behavior, even when the number of animals killed is large. Check out the official NPS statement from Nov. 29, 2016.

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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Last updated: January 19, 2023