P-47: Seven Foot Tall Cat
Male | Born November 2015 | Deceased
P-47's remains were discovered on March 21, 2019 after his GPS collar sent out a mortality signal and NPS biologists hiked in to find him in the central portion of the mountain range. He did not have any visible wounds. Lab results indicate he may have succumbed to poisoning from anticoagulant rodenticide, commonly known as rat poison. Testing on a sample of his liver showed that the three-year-old male had been exposed to six different anticoagulant compounds, and a necropsy conducted by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab found internal hemorrhaging in his head and lungs.
Although it’s not known exactly how P-47 ingested the poisons, researchers believe mountain lions are exposed through secondary or tertiary poisoning, meaning that they eat an animal that ate the poisonous bait, such as a ground squirrel, or an animal that ate an animal that consumed the poisonous bait, such as a coyote.
P-47 was one of only two known offspring of P-45, the mountain lion who gained national attention in 2016 when he killed numerous alpacas in one weekend and one of the livestock owners took out a depredation permit to kill him (she later rescinded it). DNA results indicated that P-45 came from north of the 101 Freeway, so he increased the genetic diversity of the isolated population south of the freeway when he fathered P-47 and his sister, P-46. P-45 is believed to be dead.
NPS researchers re-captured P-19 in January 2017 to replace her collar and, that same night, they also captured her son, P-47. Researchers first marked P-47 when he was around four weeks of age at the den with a tracking device. He was later fitted with a GPS collar in January 2017 when he was 14 months old and weighed 108 pounds.
At the time, he was described in the following way by a New Yorker reporter who accompanied the NPS team:
"Nose to tail, he was nearly seven feet long, covered in a thick mustardy coat flecked with black. His paws looked as big as a hand spread wide. Bottom heavy, his body tapered to an elegant head with a Greek nose. Under his neck the fur was rabbit-white and soft."
Like his father, P-47 weighed in at exactly 150 pounds at his last capture in January 2018, tied for the largest among all the mountain lions in the history of the NPS study.
Last updated: April 30, 2019