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Puma Captured in Griffith Park

 

 


CD4 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 capture site.


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.

 

 

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