Newsletter April 6, 2012
National Park Service biologists from the Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) captured
a mountain lion in the Griffith Park Area on March 28.
After fitting the lion with a GPS collar, collecting blood
and tissue samples, taking measurements, and recording
weight, age, and sex, biologists released the animal at the
According to Wildlife Ecologist Seth Riley, an expert on
urban wildlife with the National Park Service, “This is very
interesting to learn of a large carnivore such as a mountain
lion in a park as small and surrounded by urbanization as
Griffith Park. It is a testament to the health of the
natural systems in the LA area, including Griffith Park,
that the full complement of wildlife can persist here. It
will be extremely interesting to see where this animal goes
and how long he stays there.”
Named P-22 (for Puma 22), the lion is male and approximately
three years old. Scientists working with the U.S.
Geological Survey first spotted a lion on remotely triggered
wildlife cameras and alerted the mountain lion specialists
at SMMNRA, part of the National Park Service. They were
able to capture the lion after nine days of trapping. Blood
and tissue collected from P-22 will be used for DNA testing
at UCLA and UCDavis that will provide information about
where the mountain lion came from and how he might be
related to lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and elsewhere
in the region.
As part of a decade-long study, SMMNRA is currently tracking
the movements of five mountain lions in the region, from Pt.
Mugu State Park in the west, to north of Highway 126 in Los
Padres National Forest, to Griffith Park. The goal of the
study is to understand how mountain lions are existing in
such a fragmented, urban landscape and how best to conserve
them. Mountain lions require ample acreage to find mates and
sufficient food, often with “home ranges” of up to 250
square miles. Because Griffith Park is only a fraction of
that size, scientists do not expect P-22 to stay in the park
for an extended period of time.
Mountain lions are solitary animals and sightings are
extremely rare. Out of an abundance of caution, when on a
trail, keep small children close to you and dogs on leash.
If you do encounter a mountain lion, make yourself appear as
intimidating as possible by yelling, waving your arms, and
even throwing objects. Slowly back away and allow the
mountain lion a path to move away.