A famous mountain lion in the Los Angeles area has been captured after it recently carried out several attacks.
The lion, called P-22, is well known in the area and lived in Griffith Park, a 4,000-acre area in the Hollywood Hills. However, the animal has attacked two dogs and also been spotted near houses, leading to concern about its wellbeing.
Sarah Picchi, a resident of Los Feliz, told the Los Angeles Times that the lion was captured in her backyard on Monday. She was working a little before eleven in the morning when someone rang at the entrance to her home.
“The woman said, ‘No, I’m with Wildlife. You have a lion in your backyard,’” Picchi said in an interview with the Times. “Of course, I knew it was P-22 because I’ve been following the story.”
Last week, authorities with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the agency would “capture the world-famous mountain lion P-22 and bring him in for a health evaluation.” After the animal is assessed, veterinarians with the agency and National Park Service biologists will decide what the best way forward will be for P-22.
“P-22 has been reported near human dwellings close to his habitat in Griffith Park. Reports include sightings, video camera recordings and physical encounters with the lion,” the agency said in a press release. “P-22 is a remarkably old cat in the wild and, after being deemed responsible for killing a leashed pet last month, may be exhibiting signs of distress.”
The agency also called it “an unprecedented situation in which a mountain lion has continued to survive in such an urban setting.”
P-22 is thought to have killed a chihuahua mix dog while a person was walking the dog on November 9, and also attacked another chihuahua. The owner of the second chihuahua fought back against the lion.
“My wife and I got Piper in 2014,” Daniel Jimenez, the first dog’s owner, said. “We rescued her and she was just the sweetest dog. We’re just devastated at the loss of our little dog.”
“I don’t want anything bad to happen to P-22,” Jimenez noted. “I just want people to be safe out there so that nothing like this happens again.”
In early 2012, P-22 was first seen in Griffith Park and has become famous in the area since that time.
Beth Pratt is the California regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation and is also in charge of the SaveLACougars effort.
“If Griffith Park was connected to other open space, P22 would have options,” she reportedly wrote in a statement last week. “P22 might not be now traveling so close to the denser human-wildlife interface.”
It was previously believed that it could take a while to bring the animal in.
“It’s up to the cat,” Pratt said. “It could be a couple of days or it could be in a month. It just depends on how quickly the cat cooperates.”