GPS Data Offer Clues on Famous Lion Locations

male mountain lion
P-22 is believed to have the smallest home range of any adult male mountain lion ever studied.

National Park Service

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News Release Date: April 17, 2015

Contact: Kate Kuykendall, 805-370-2343

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif - New GPS data provide additional insights into the days before and after the mountain lion known as P-22 was discovered under the crawlspace of a Los Feliz home, triggering an avalanche of media coverage.

"After all the hoopla, we're happy to report that P-22 has been spending the past couple of days in the natural and more remote areas of Griffith Park, as he normally does," said Dr. Seth Riley, wildlife ecologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "Like most mountain lions, he likes to find a quiet place during the day to rest, but we hope next time it will be in dense chaparral as opposed to under someone's house."

The data show that P-22 had only been in the crawlspace for a short period of time on the day he was discovered. As of 6 a.m. that morning, he had left the confines of Griffith Park, but had not yet arrived at the Los Feliz residence.

Because P-22's GPS collar was not recording data points while he was in the crawlspace, likely because of a lack of satellite connectivity, it is impossible to know for certain whether he had previously visited the home, but it's clear he had not spent long periods of time there. The device is programmed to log eight locations over a 24-hour period, mostly during the evening hours when mountain lions are most active.

The collar also offers clues regarding when P-22 may have left the home. Although efforts to coax P-22 out of the crawlspace on the evening of April 13 were unsuccessful, it appears he did not linger long after the crowd subsided. As of 2:00 a.m. on April 14, he had left the residence and was making his way back to Griffith Park. When the next point was taken at 4:00 a.m., he was safely within the confines of the park.

P-22 is believed to have the smallest home range of any adult male mountain lion ever studied. The average home range for a male mountain lion is typically about 200 square miles. The size of Griffith Park is approximately eight square miles.

Since 2002, the National Park Service has been studying mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains to determine how they survive in an increasingly fragmented and urbanized environment. P-22 was first captured by National Park Service biologists and outfitted with a GPS collar in 2012.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) 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. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state, and federal parks interwoven with private land and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.

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Last updated: May 18, 2015

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