Puma Profiles: P-78

Mountain Lion looking into camera at night.


Initial capture date: Dec. 11, 2019 (84 pounds)

Death date: Dec. 26, 2020, found dead in Valencia (83 pounds)

P-78 was a male mountain lion initially captured by NPS biologists as a subadult in the central Santa Monica Mountains in December 2019. He traveled west and crossed the 101 Freeway at the Conejo Grade in Camarillo. He spent some time in Wildwood, then crossed Highway 23 followed by Highway 118 in the Rocky Peak area.

He had been living in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains before his death. He would regularly cross beneath the I-5 along the Santa Clara River. At one point, he even went way up in the Angeles National Forest before coming back to the Santa Susana Mountains!

Prior to his death, he appeared to have been doing well. Biologists had recaptured P-78 in November 2020 in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains at Towsley Canyon to replace his GPS collar because the battery was due to fail soon.

On Dec. 26, 2020, biologists received a mortality signal from P-78’s radio collar. They hiked into the site and found this young cat’s body along San Francisquito Creek, a tributary of the Santa Clara River in Valencia. He had a broken front left leg, and it appeared that he had been hit by a car. His body was submitted to the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Lab in San Bernardino for a necropsy and testing. According to the results, he tested positive to exposure to five anticoagulant rodenticide compounds and bromethalin.

P-78 is the 23rd mountain lion, and the 7th radio collared animal, to die form road mortality in the study area since 2002.

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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Last updated: January 20, 2023