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Contact: Kate Kuykendall, 805-370-2343THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Newly released images indicate the Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22 has recovered from mange. After capturing the animal for a routine battery change of its tracking collar in March, biologists noted his deteriorated health and treated him from mange and exposure to rat poison.
"He looks healthy and has a full belly," said Jeff Sikich, biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "Based on the number of photos, the multiple angles and the clarity, this is the best indication we've had that P-22 appears to have recovered. With these high resolution photos I can zoom in and investigate for signs of mange around the back of his ears and top of his head, which is usually where it first develops."
Sorting through more than 1500 photos, Sikich determined that all the external indications of health looked positive. Without re-capturing him and testing the blood, however, it's impossible to know the full picture of the animal's health. The National Park Service study had previously documented two mountain lion deaths as a result of anti-coagulant rodenticide poisoning.
The photos were taken November 21 with a remotely triggered camera. Sikich set up the camera equipment on a fresh deer kill in Griffith Park, anticipating that P-22 would return in the evening to feed. He fed for a total of four nights on a large mule deer, the natural prey of mountain lions in this region.
P-22, also known as Puma 22, was first captured in Griffith Park and outfitted with a GPS collar in March of 2012. GPS data indicate he has spent the majority of his time in the most natural areas of the park.
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.