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A mountain lion in Hollywood


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: October 05, 2013, 02:38:10 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Scientists track cougar's wild nightlife above Hollywood

The mountain lion — known as P-22 — living in Griffith Park is giving
scientists insight into the behavior of an urban puma on the prowl.


By MARTHA GROVES | 4:56PM - Friday, October 04, 2013

The lights of Hollywood glow behind P-22, a 125-pound mountain lion in Griffith Park. The photo was taken by Steve Winter with a remote trail camera and will be published in December's National Geographic magazine. Winter's work will appear in "The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years” at the Annenberg Space for Photography, opening October 26th. — Photo: Steve Winter/National Geographic/March 2nd, 2013.
The lights of Hollywood glow behind P-22, a 125-pound mountain lion in Griffith Park. The photo was taken by Steve Winter with a remote trail camera and will
be published in December's National Geographic magazine. Winter's work will appear in "The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years” at the
Annenberg Space for Photography, opening October 26th. — Photo: Steve Winter/National Geographic/March 2nd, 2013.


FOR more than a year and a half, the solitary mountain lion known as P-22 has made himself right at home in Griffith Park within view of Hollywood's Capitol Records building.

By night, he cruises the chaparral-covered canyons, dining on mule deer, raccoon and coyote. By day, while tots ride the Travel Town train and hikers hit the trails, he hunkers down amid dense vegetation.

To researchers' knowledge, the 125-pound 4-year-old is the most urban mountain lion in Southern California and possibly beyond — surviving and thriving in a small patch of habitat surrounded by freeways and densely packed human beings that he reached, somewhat miraculously, by crossing the 101 and 405 freeways.

P-22 is giving scientists insight into the life and eating habits of a puma on the prowl. And he is serving as an unwitting but alluring subject for a National Geographic wildlife photographer whose trail cameras have captured jaw-dropping night-time shots of the animal, including one that features the Hollywood sign.

"He has it quite easy for a young lion in Griffith Park," said Jeff Sikich, a National Park Service biologist tracking P-22. "There's no competition, and there seems to be plenty of prey for him."

Sikich, part of a National Park Service team that has captured and collared more than 20 cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains during a long-term study, is among a small group of scientists who have studied P-22's behavior since March 2012.

If hikers, equestrians or other park users have encountered P-22 during the day, they haven't alerted Sikich. He said that there has been "possibly one credible sighting" but that the lion has been "doing what a lion should do: finding his natural prey and staying elusive."

Biologists say P-22 probably entered the park in February 2012, after a journey of 20 miles or so from farther west in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Sometime later, the mountain lion triggered a remote camera set up for a wildlife survey. On February 29th, 2012, Miguel Ordeñana, a biologist working on the survey, began culling a couple of weeks' worth of mundane images of deer and coyotes. Hoping for a bobcat, he was startled to see the massive hindquarters and tail of a much larger animal. He later found the first photo of the lion, which showed his face.

"From what I'd been told and what I knew, it was seemingly nearly impossible for a mountain lion to be there," he said. "I almost thought I had seen Bigfoot or a chupacabra." (A chupacabra is a ferocious, blood-sucking creature of urban legend.)

Although a dead cougar was found in the park in 1995, and parkgoers reported sightings in 2004, this was the first photographic evidence of a lion inhabiting the park. In fact, the photos taken were the first known images of any mountain lion within the mountain system east of Cahuenga Pass, the National Park Service said.

Sikich set humane traps with cameras, rigged to send images to his cellphone. At 2 o'clock one morning in March 2012, his cellphone rang, and he and other scientists hurried to the site, a Department of Water and Power property just west of the park. Sikich used a blowpipe to administer a sedative to the mountain lion and attached a collar with GPS and very high frequency radio signal technology.

The collar regularly sends data to a website via satellite or cellphone tower. Biologists remotely track an average of eight locations a day, mostly at night when the animal is active. They watch particularly for "location clusters," indicating spots where the lion has been feeding.

Using the location data as a guide, they have bushwhacked or crawled through poison oak and thick vegetation to find what was on P-22's menu. Once in the vicinity, they follow their noses.

"For fresh kills, smell is very telling; it smells like rotten meat," said Laurel Serieys a PhD candidate in biology at UCLA who's a project volunteer.

She and Ordeñana recently spent four arduous hours hiking in to four "kill sites" in deep ravines or on steep hillsides. At the first location, right off a paved road in the park, they found only the malodorous rumen, or stomach, of a deer. They surmised that coyotes had dragged the deer's body away.

Next, at the bottom of a ravine, Serieys found a coyote carcass, with part of the muzzle intact. Ordeñana said this was the first documented P-22 kill that was not a deer. Their excitement at the discovery was tempered by a concern: Coyotes eat rodents that have been exposed to rat poison. Two mountain lions that were collared for the National Park Service study died from rodenticide poisoning.

At the third site, they found a rib cage and skull with antlers attached: another mule deer.

Deep in a poison oak-infested ravine in the southeast part of the park, near Farmouth Drive, they found the fourth and goriest carcass — a big raccoon with bloody limbs scattered all about. (In contrast with the all-you-can-eat buffet of a 150-pound mule deer, the raccoon could be considered more of a protein bar snack.)

It appeared that P-22 had tried to camouflage the kill under a pile of leaves but that coyotes had also feasted. Ordeñana described the scene on the website Urban Carnivores. "It seemed as if P-22 and maybe later some coyotes attempted to consume almost every morsel of available meat to the point where it seemed like the carcass was turned inside out."

"There's a possibility that, even though we say mountain lions are deer specialists, they probably are more of a generalist carnivore than we think," Ordeñana said.

Researchers aren't the only ones thrilled by the unprecedented opportunities P-22 provides with his ongoing presence in Los Angeles' Griffith Park.

Steve Winter, a contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine, has gotten several perfectly framed shots of the cougar on his nocturnal rounds, with the lights of Hollywood as a backdrop. The image featured with this story, which Winter's camera took at 3:46 a.m. on March 2nd, will be published in the magazine's December issue. Winter's P-22 images will also appear in "The Power of Photography: National Geographic 125 Years" at the Annenberg Space for Photography, opening October 26th.

Winter, working as part of a National Geographic program to foster awareness of the plight of wild cats, met Sikich at a 2011 mountain lion workshop in Bozeman, Montana.

"We need an image of urban cats because we know they're coming close to urban areas and small towns," Winter recalled telling Sikich. "Wouldn't it be great to get a picture of a mountain lion under the Hollywood sign?" At the time, Winter said, Sikich considered it a long shot. After P-22 ambled into the park, however, Sikich helped Winter set up cameras, remotely triggered by infrared beams, in locked steel boxes in scattered locations.

Winter, too, has had to deal with predators. "Three setups were stolen," he said. Some Hollywood Hills residents help keep an eye on the equipment and email to let him know its condition.

For now, P-22 remains what Ordeñana calls the "ultimate living ambassador for Griffith Park wildlife and urban mountain lions." But Sikich knows that biology will almost certainly dictate a relocation from P-22's 8-square-mile home to much larger terrain.

"Eventually, he's going to want to breed," Sikich said. "And that might bring him out of there."


http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-griffith-park-lion-20131005,0,6885857.story
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2014, 11:57:33 am »


A related news story from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Feeding wildlife can have negative repercussions

          (published on Monday, February 17, 2014)
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 06:05:54 am »


From the Los Angeles Times....

Remote camera catches mountain lion kittens feeding on deer

By SAMANTHA SCHAEFER | 8:00PM PST - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Female mountain lion kitten P-28 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.
Female mountain lion kitten P-28 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.

P-30 feeding in Malibu Creek State Park with mom, P-13, in the background. — Photo: National Park Service.
P-30 feeding in Malibu Creek State Park with mom, P-13, in the background. — Photo: National Park Service.

A REMOTE CAMERA snapped more than 350 high-quality images of mountain lion P-13 and her kittens as they fed on a mule deer over two nights in Malibu Creek State Park last week.

The cameras were set up to check on the male and female kittens, P-30 and P-28, who biologists haven't seen since they were tagged when they were about three weeks old, said biologist Jeff Sikich with the National Park Service.

The kittens are now 10 months old, and though they have trackers that pinpoint their locations, Sikich said he was interested in how healthy they look.


P-28 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.
P-28 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.

The kittens appear healthy, "nice and fat," he said.

"Mom seems to be finding deer and prey for them," he said.

The animals fed separately — one would feed, then take a break while another would come in for a bite, Sikich said.


Male mountain lion kitten P-30 in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.
Male mountain lion kitten P-30 in Malibu Creek State Park. — Photo: National Park Service.

Mountain lion P-13 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. A remote camera caught more than 350 shots of the other and her two kittens feeding. — Photo: National Park Service.
Mountain lion P-13 feeds in Malibu Creek State Park. A remote camera caught more than 350 shots of the other and her two kittens feeding.
 — Photo: National Park Service.


"These are very elusive animals, mountain lions, they're not easy to go out and watch in the wild," he said. "We don't hardly get any behavioral information about them."

Sikich set up the camera at the feeding site during the day, after the mule deer had been killed. The animals were interested in the sound of the camera's shutter, but didn't seem to mind the flash, he said.

A National Park Service team has captured and collared more than 30 cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains during a long-term study started in 2002, including one particularly urban mountain lion known as P-22.


http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-photos-mountain-lion-kittens-20140225,0,152963.story
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2014, 06:36:11 pm »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Mountain lion attacks 6-year-old child on trail near Cupertino

By STEPHANIE M. LEE | 6:44PM PDT - Sunday, September 07, 2014



AUTHORITIES were searching for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old child on a hiking trail near Cupertino on Sunday afternoon, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Hiking trails were closed after the agency received reports around 1 p.m. that the child was attacked about 2 miles from the Picchetti Winery at 13100 Montebello Road, said Sergeant Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the sheriff's office. The child, who was not identified, did not have life-threatening injuries.

More than 20 deputies, park rangers and officials from the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife were asking the public to avoid the area as they searched for the animal, Stenderup said.

“We know they're up there. We do get some calls about them, but most of the time, it's ‘they crossed the road’ or ‘went by someone's yard’,” Stenderup said. “If you live in the hills, you kind of expect that. But I think it's rare to have a mountain lion attack a person, let alone a child. We're going to look into it and figure out why that whole thing happened.”

The circumstances of the attack were unclear, Stenderup said. If the mountain lion is found, the Department of Fish and Wildlife will ultimately decide what to do with it.

In nearby Mountain View in May, a mountain lion that wandered out of the rural hills and into the city was safely tranquilized and released into open space.


http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mountain-lion-attacks-6-year-old-child-on-trail-5740141.php
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 05:37:51 pm »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Search resumes for mountain lion that attacked boy

By TERRY COLLINS - Associated Press | 6:06PM PDT - Monday, September 08, 2014



SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities in Northern California will resume searching for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Patrick Foy said a new team of tracking dogs will take over on Monday evening after the search was halted earlier because a previous team of dogs became exhausted while scouring rugged terrain in humid conditions for the big cat.

Foy said authorities will also set three live traps with roadkill as bait to try catching the animal.

“The animal is pretty comfortable in these surroundings. There's no indication to us that he's gone pretty far,” Foy said. “We feel that he's nearby.”

Officials said the boy was released from the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on Monday, a day after suffering bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck while hiking with his family and others at the Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve near the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino. The boy's name has not been released.

The boy's father told investigators his son was about 10 feet ahead of the group when a mountain lion “came out of nowhere” and attacked the boy, Foy said.

Hiking trails remained closed during the search.

After calling off Sunday's search at dusk, the team spent overnight at the site of the attack hoping the lion would return. Authorities opted for a smaller search crew to increase its probability of tracking down the animal though fresh scents and prints, Foy said.

“We've intentionally minimized the team to eliminate any scent and track contamination in order to find this animal who we believe is a threat to public safety,” Foy said. “We will be here for as long as it takes.”

If found, authorities intend to kill the lion and test it for rabies, Foy added.

He said the mountain lion attacked in a manner similar to the way it would a group of deer by targeting the easiest prey, usually the smallest member. The lion dragged the boy into some brush before his father and the other male adult in the hiking group shouted and acted aggressively toward the animal, scaring it away, Foy added.

“That little boy probably would be dead had they not intervened,” Foy said.

There have been 13 verified mountain lion attacks in California between 1986 and 2013, three of which resulted in deaths, according to the Fish and Wildfire department.

The trail where the attack occurred is on land owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, which buys and protects land in the San Francisco Bay Area.


http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/California-boy-recovers-from-mountain-lion-attack-5740715.php



from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Authorities seek to kill mountain lion that attacked boy

By HENRY K. LEE and KEVIN FAGAN | 7:28AM PDT - Tuesday, September 09, 2014



STATE wildlife experts scoured the northern edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains on Monday for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy as he walked just ahead of a large group on a hike, with designs on killing the big cat and testing it for rabies.

Tracking dogs were used in hopes of finding the mountain lion with the help of its scent, taken from the boy's clothing. But it was a challenging task, as mountain lions can roam for miles, crisscrossing terrain and making it hard for search teams to determine which tracks are fresher.

The search was halted Monday afternoon when the dogs became exhausted in the humid heat after hitting the trail Sunday evening and sleeping in the woods overnight. They were scheduled to be back on the hunt Monday night and will soon be joined by another team of hounds, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Patrick Foy.

“We'll be setting out at least two live traps also to try to catch the animal, but for now the trackers will be using live ammunition as they search,” Foy said.

Hiking trails were closed after the boy was attacked at 1 p.m. Sunday west of Cupertino. The attack came on a trail within the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District about 2 miles from the Picchetti Winery at 13100 Montebello Road, said Sergeant Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The boy, who was not identified, was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, where he was upgraded Monday to good condition, said hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou. He was released to his parents around noon, and his family was declining requests for interviews.

“All indicators for his condition were excellent when he left,” Alexiou said.

The animal attacked the boy as if he was prey, said Foy, jumping from a hidden position before putting a biting grip on his head and neck and dragging him into the brush. Two men, including the boy's father, ran toward the big cat, shouting aggressively, and were able to chase it away.

The boy could have been killed had his father and the other man not rescued him, Foy said, adding that even after the attack, the mountain lion followed the family to its car as they tried to escape. That is a sign of aggressive behavior and a reason the animal needs to be killed, Foy said.

“Because it attacked a child, it is now considered a public safety threat,” said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre. “They also need to test it for rabies and take DNA samples to match to the samples they already have.”

Mountain lion activity in the Bay Area is common, though attacks on humans are rare.

In May, an animal — known to scientists as 46M because it had been captured and outfitted by scientists with GPS technology in its collar — hid behind a small ledge on a busy street in Mountain View for nine hours and skulked around for another several hours before it was tranquilized and released into open space.


http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Authorities-seek-to-kill-mountain-lion-that-5741653.php
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 06:16:35 pm »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Save the cat? Some want boy-attacking puma spared

By EVAN SERNOFFSKY | 2:14PM PDT - Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Senior Park Ranger Flint Glines uses tape to block off a hiking trail closed during the search for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy on Sunday. — Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle.
Senior Park Ranger Flint Glines uses tape to block off a hiking trail closed during the search for a mountain
lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy on Sunday. — Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle.


THE HUNT was back on Tuesday for a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy Sunday west of Cupertino. But after officials announced they were intent on killing the animal, some outraged readers weighed in, urging the big cat be spared.

Officials said the cougar ambushed the boy as if he was prey Sunday afternoon while he was walking just in front of a large group on a hiking trail within the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District near the Picchetti Winery at 13100 Montebello Road.

The cat jumped from a hidden position before biting the boy’s head and neck and dragging him into nearby brush, said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“It is very unusual for a mountain lion to approach a person and even more unusual for a mountain lion to attack a person, especially in a group,” said agency spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre. “It is extremely concerning and a public safely threat.”

Wildlife officials set four traps, and two trackers with seven dogs were scouring the northern edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains hunting the animal.


Signs warn hikers of residing mountain lions at the opening of a hiking trail at Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve near Cupertino, where a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion on Sunday. — Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle.
Signs warn hikers of residing mountain lions at the opening of a hiking trail at Picchetti Ranch Open Space
Preserve near Cupertino, where a 6-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion on Sunday.
 — Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle.


Some readers, though, are on the cougar’s side — and hope the animal gets away.

From Banned_4_life:
“RUN Mountain lion RUN!! Mountain lions were here first, we encroached on their territory not the other way around.

From B_4:
Kill the mountain lion??? WHAT? That’s crazy! There has to be another solution.

From Gr8_googly:
Why do we need to kill it? Can’t we tranquilize it and test for rabies? Then relocate it? Or are the manly men who bravely shoot things from a safe distance with high-powered rifles telling us that it needs to be killed because… guns.

From Marycareysf:
We have no right to kill wildlife. We don’t even kill someone who killed a person. Sheesh. Relocate it, maybe. But kill, absolutely not.

From Bee_traven:
I hope the child recovers completely, but the sad truth is that there are too many of us and too few mountain lions. We’re not their chosen prey, but we’re crowding and stressing them in the middle of the worst drought in years. Attacks like this are bound to happen to some of us.

Others, however, had less sympathy for the animal.

From NoReason:
Why kill the lion? Because once a lion discovers what easy prey humans are, it’s likely to go for another human next time instead of a deer or some other prey animal. Strange how many people have such a hard time understanding that.

From Grift:
I can’t believe how stupid people who live in cities are. This lion attacked a small child. It needs to be found, and euthanized. These lions don’t normally attack people, and when they do, it means the animal has started seeing us as prey, and we simply cannot have this. I can’t believe the level of questions here. ‘Why kill the lion?’ BECAUSE IT ATTACKED A SMALL CHILD. OK? my god.

Experts on Tuesday established a DNA profile of the animal and will soon know its sex. Trackers who spot a cat that they can identify as a different sex will not kill it, Macintyre said.

According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, those who encounter a cougar should do the following:

 • Don’t approach it;
 • Don’t turn your back on it;
 • Appear as big as possible;
 • Maintain eye contact with it;
 • Pick up any children;
 • Speak loudly and firmly;
 • Throw rocks and sticks at it;
 • Slowly create distance.


http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/09/09/save-the-cat-some-want-boy-attacking-puma-spared



from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Live traps set for mountain lion that attacked boy

By TERRY COLLINS - Associated Press | 7:50PM PDT - Tuesday, September 09, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Wildlife crews in Northern California added an extra live trap Tuesday in their ongoing search to catch a mountain lion that attacked a 6-year-old boy.

Biologists set a fourth live trap with roadkill carcasses as bait to go along with three others set Monday to help increase the chances of capturing the cougar, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Kirsten Macintyre.

The cat is believed to be male, Macintyre said.

“We think it is a sub-adult, a little bit older than a juvenile or not full grown. That's based on eyewitnesses and on paw prints,” she said.

Hiking trails remained closed as two search teams and seven tracking dogs continued to scour the rugged terrain for the big cat for a third straight day. While the cat has not reappeared since Sunday, crews stepped up efforts Tuesday after they discovered some lion tracks Monday estimated to be about a day old, Macintyre said.

The search has been difficult at times because a number of tracks crisscross in certain spots, she added.

“That's the nature of the beast, so to speak,” Macintyre said. “The dogs still have the scent of the cat. If they had lost the scent, they would have come in by now.”

If found, authorities intend to kill the lion and test it for rabies.

The attack occurred about 1 p.m., which is unusual, Macintyre said.

Cougars usually prefer to hunt and travel at dusk or dawn.

“This cat is not behaving like a normal cat,” Macintyre said.

The boy was released from the hospital Monday, a day after suffering bite wounds and scratches on his head and neck while hiking with his family and others near the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino. His name has not been released.

Before Sunday, the most recent mountain lion attack in California was two years ago in Nevada County. A six-day search failed to turn up a lion, Macintyre said.

However, there is no timetable on this latest search, she added.


http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Live-traps-set-for-mountain-lion-that-attacked-boy-5744248.php
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 06:41:51 pm »

I feel for the lion, but any animal that kills humans should be destroyed before they pass on their bad habits to offspring.  And no.  Before the cries of anguish - They don't have the right to defend their turf or any other of the other numerous plaintive cries.  That right went overboard when they attacked humans.
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2014, 01:25:16 am »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Killed: Mountain lion thought to have attacked boy

By KALE WILLIAMS | 9:34PM PDT - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A MOUNTAIN LION that attacked a 6-year-old boy in a park west of Cupertino this week was killed by officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The 65-pound cat was chased up a tree and shot around 9 a.m. just 130 yards from where the original attack took place, said Kirsten Macintyre, a spokeswoman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Trails were closed after the boy was attacked at 1 p.m. Sunday west of Cupertino. The attack came on a trail within the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District about two miles from the Picchetti Winery at 13100 Montebello Road, said Sergeant Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

The boy was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and held overnight but was released around noon Monday in good condition.

The mountain lion attacked the boy as if he were prey, officials said, pouncing from a hidden position before biting down on his neck and dragging him into the brush. The boy's father and another man ran toward the big cat, shouting aggressively. They were able to chase it away.

Since then, state wildlife experts scoured the northern edge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, using tracking dogs, which got the cat's scent from the boy's clothing, and live traps.

On Wednesday morning, the dogs chased the cat up a tree, where it exhibited unusually aggressive behavior toward one of the wildlife officers, Macintyre said.

Because the cat was so aggressive and nearly 70 feet off the ground, their only option was to euthanize the cat, Macintyre said, as the fall from that height would have killed it anyway.

Officials always look for non-lethal ways to deal with problematic animals, said wildlife spokesman Clark Blanchard, but the fact that the cat had likely attacked a child marked it as a public safety risk.

The cat's territorial behavior and location indicated that it was likely a local cat and not one passing through the area, Blanchard said, leading officials to believe it was the same one involved in the attack.

A full necropsy will be performed in Sacramento to conclusively identify the animal.


Related story:

 • What To Do When You Meet a Mountain Lion


http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Mountain-lion-that-attacked-boy-killed-near-5746954.php
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 03:52:51 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

A week in the life of P‑22, the big cat who shares Griffith Park
with millions of people


In the footsteps of an urban mountain lion. Big cat P-22 shows the promise, peril of co-existence.

By THOMAS CURWEN | 12:03AM PST - Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Mountain lion P-22 is seen prowling Griffith Park in a remotely-taken image. — Photograph: Miguel Ordenana.
Mountain lion P-22 is seen prowling Griffith Park in a remotely-taken image. — Photograph: Miguel Ordenana.

THE LION slinks through the chaparral, a blur of movement in the night. Head held lower than his shoulders, he scours the brush in a ravine just south of Travel Town in Griffith Park.

Hind paws land where the forepaws lift. No twig snaps, no crinkling leaf. He's silent, an ambush predator, always hunting, always looking for opportunity.

Inside a small gray box on his neck, a microprocessor switches on to calculate and time stamp his location —  21:00, December 2nd, 2016 — one of 56 readings made in the course of a week. The coordinates reveal the lion's rambling course through this island of wilderness in the midst of the city.

As famous as he is, the mountain lion known as P-22 is a mystery, his day-to-day life hidden by his instincts for evasion.

The National Wildlife Federation has called the species a “nearly perfect predator,” and among the survival skills, fine-tuned over 40 million years of evolution, is a talent for invisibility.


Can you spot the mountain lion in this photograph?

A mountain lion in the brush of Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park in south Orange County is captured on film along with the wife and daughter of Doug Schulthess of Cypress. Schulthess, his wife, Loye, and 2–year–old daughter Natalie were on a nature hike when Schulthess snapped the family photograph in October 1986. — Photograph: Doug Schulthess.
A mountain lion in the brush of Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park in south Orange County is captured on film along with the wife
and daughter of Doug Schulthess of Cypress. Schulthess, his wife, Loye, and 2–year–old daughter Natalie were on a nature hike
when Schulthess snapped the family photograph in October 1986. — Photograph: Doug Schulthess.


What evolution did not prepare P-22 for is how to exist in an eight-square-mile urban park with more than 5 million human visitors a year. Most male cats have almost 20 times that space, nearly to themselves.

On this night, his ears twitch to a distant rustling, another creature's lapse of caution. It comes from a steep gully, overgrown by willows.

P-22 turns his head in advance of the quick and deadly attack to come.


A FEW DAYS before, in November, another lion had the same intention when he broke into the unsecured pens of two ranches in the Santa Monica Mountains, killing nearly a dozen alpacas and a goat.

The state wasted no time issuing a permit to kill P-45, and advocates rushed to champion the rights of the condemned cat. At a public meeting a few days later, the crowd grew contentious.

When a man asked whether P-45 might be deviant or rogue for having killed so many animals in one night, the crowd booed and jeered.

When a woman proclaimed, “We are here because these animals cannot speak for themselves,” most in the group applauded.

An online petition — “Stop the permit to kill!” — drew more than 1,000 signatures from supporters as far away as Moscow and Cape Town.  The big cat was granted a reprieve.

The decision reflected the opinion of the biologist who matter-of-factly explained: “P-45 is a lion being a lion.”

The mountain lion's offense would have met with less sympathy back when the cats ranged throughout Rancho Los Feliz and Elysian Park. It would have been seen as an opportunity for sport.

“There may be an element of excitement in stalking royal Bengal tigers in their native jungles, or pursuing the ivory tusked elephant in the sacred preserves of the Ahkood of Swat, but for exhilarating sport, lightly spiced with danger and possessing some other merits of consideration, hunting mountain lions within the city limits of Los Angeles stands pre-eminent.”

The Los Angeles Times' account of the 1892 hunt continued with descriptions of the deep-voiced bay of the hounds, the cries and tootings from the tally-ho horn, the gunshots.

Mercy, let alone adulation, was not likely back then.


FROM THE moment P-22 was discovered, he was a celebrity. His image soon adorned the cover of National Geographic. Writers opened at least six Twitter accounts in his name, feeding him lines with late-night flair: “I like free range organic kale-fed deer.” “Building a wall along our border with Burbank to keep out golden retrievers.”

The city honored him with a day of recognition (October 22nd), and filmmakers are about to debut a documentary about his life with the grandiose title, “The Cat That Changed America”.

His residency, however, has not been without mishap.

He has ingested rat poison from eating smaller prey and contracted a bad case of mange.


Scientists recaptured P-22 in late March 2016 and, after noticing crusting on his fur and skin, treated him for mange. — Photograph: National Park Service.
Scientists recaptured P-22 in late March 2016 and, after noticing crusting on his fur and skin, treated him for mange.
 — Photograph: National Park Service.


P-22 appears to have recovered from the mange and rat poisoning for which he was treated. — Photograph: National Park Service.
P-22 appears to have recovered from the mange and rat poisoning for which he was treated. — Photograph: National Park Service.

Months after turning up looking sickly and suffering from mange, Griffith Park's resident mountain lion and unofficial mascot, P-22, is looking much healthier. — Photograph: National Park Service.
Months after turning up looking sickly and suffering from mange, Griffith Park's resident mountain lion and unofficial mascot, P-22,
is looking much healthier. — Photograph: National Park Service.


He wandered into the crawl space of a home in Los Feliz and endured a day-long assault by authorities who peppered him with bean bags and tennis balls.

Then there was the incident a year ago with Killarney, the 14-year-old koala, who went missing from her enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo. GPS data and a surveillance video put P-22 at the scene, and most assume the koala became a meal.

Like the best Los Angeles stories, his debut was captured on a camera. A team of researchers had been studying the movement of wildlife in and out of Griffith Park, seeing plenty of deer, bobcats and coyotes. Then came the surprise.

Eyes fluorescing from the flash, P-22 is frozen in time — February 12th, 2012, 9:15 p.m. — on a game trail above the Ford Amphitheatre, gaze turned to the left, scouring the brush.

Four weeks later, the young cat lay anesthetized in the pre-dawn darkness above Lake Hollywood. His captor, National Park Service wildlife biologist Jeff Sikich, put him at 120 pounds, nearly 6½ feet from nose to tail.

Sikich drew blood, tagged his ears, placed a GPS collar around his neck and let him go.

The collar calculates P-22's location eight times a day when the receiver kicks in for up to 180 seconds and picks up the signals from orbiting satellites. They relay his location to one of 24 ground stations around the world.

A computer in Berlin, owned by Vectronic Aerospace, stores the information, which Sikich accesses from his office in Thousand Oaks.

P-22's whereabouts arrive as numbered coordinates corresponding to locations in the park. The time stamp allows Sikich to trace his daily meanderings.

On this chill December night, P-22 continues to follow the rustling in the willows. The faint and primordial sound stands out from the city's white noise.

Zoo Drive and the 134 Freeway are just a drainage away. Cars and trucks thrum the concrete and asphalt. Horns honk. Sirens bleat.

With ghost-like stealth, P-22 moves within striking distance.

This aptitude for ambush explains why the debate and fear over big cats are so raw.


P-22, the mountain lion in Griffith Park, is photographed using a remote camera in February 2012. — Photograph: Griffith Park Connectivity Study.
P-22, the mountain lion in Griffith Park, is photographed using a remote camera in February 2012.
 — Photograph: Griffith Park Connectivity Study.


This National Park Service photograph shows P-22. The mountain lion is believed to have come from the Santa Monica Mountains, which would mean he crossed both the 405 and the 101 freeways to get to Griffith Park. — Photograph: National Park Service.
This National Park Service photograph shows P-22. The mountain lion is believed to have come from the Santa Monica Mountains,
which would mean he crossed both the 405 and the 101 freeways to get to Griffith Park. — Photograph: National Park Service.


The first recorded mountain lion attack on a human in California occurred near San Jose on July 6th, 1909, when a big cat mauled Isola Kennedy, the daughter of a temperance worker, despite her attempts to fend off the attack with a hatpin.

She and a young companion died of injuries and infection.

In 1986, a lion attacked two young children in Orange County. Severely injured, they survived, but it was the first of nearly a dozen more attacks in the state.

With each assault came the question of whether these perfect predators and humans could co-exist. Yet many biologists feel that the success of P-22 in Griffith Park — and of other lions living in close proximity to other urban areas throughout the West — proves that we can.

Gullies and thickets conceal his circuit, a routine no different than any other male lion's: sleeping by day and, by night, hunting, warding off rivals, looking for a mate.

Days earlier, he wandered along the western border. The lights of Universal City and Warner Brothers reflected in his eyes.

Dropping into Coyote Canyon, he skirted Hollywood Knolls, its homes looking out toward the eastern sweep of the Valley. He heard dogs barking and cars and motorcycles accelerating on Barham Boulevard and the 101.


Deer graze at the Hollywood Reservoir among areas frequented by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion. The animals are a favorite food source for P-22. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Deer graze at the Hollywood Reservoir among areas frequented by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion. The animals are a favorite
food source for P-22. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


LATER he wandered among the dead at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, a celebrity among celebrities. Deer and other prey are drawn to the flowers left in the cemetery and to the willows and sycamores covering Sennett Creek, and the lion has killed there before.

That night, though, he crossed through Mount Sinai Memorial Park and out toward Oak Canyon. With his long hind legs and powerful haunches, he can leap as high as 15 feet and as far as 40 feet, so few fences or walls are an impediment.

In the morning, he settled himself in the brush, not far from the terraces and plantings of Amir Dialameh, the Iranian emigre who restored this fire-ravaged portion of the park.

How P-22 got into Griffith Park is anyone's guess. Researchers believe he was born in the Santa Monica Mountains. His father was P-1, and by the age of 2, he had a choice: Stay and fight for this territory or find new ground for himself.

Some have him bounding across the 405, but he might have found a tunnel and sidestepped the freeway construction after Carmageddon in 2011. Then came the walled estates, the canyon parks and Mulholland Highway before he discovered the Lakeridge or possibly the Pilgrimage bridge across the Hollywood Freeway.

Once in the park, he found enough deer and smaller prey to sustain him.


Seth Riley, left, a wildlife ecologist, and Jeff Sikich, a biologist for the National Park Service, walk the trails in the hills above Warner Brothers Studios looking for the remains of a deer likely killed and consumed by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion. The pair are using data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to locate the remains. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Seth Riley, left, a wildlife ecologist, and Jeff Sikich, a biologist for the National Park Service, walk the trails in the hills above
Warner Brothers Studios looking for the remains of a deer likely killed and consumed by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion.
The pair are using data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to locate the remains. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


Dr. Seth Riley, left, wildlife ecologist, and Jeff Sikich, right, biologist for the National Park Service, examine the remains of a small deer. The pair located the remains using data collected from the radio collar worn by P-22. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Seth Riley, left, wildlife ecologist, and Jeff Sikich, right, biologist for the National Park Service, examine the remains
of a small deer. The pair located the remains using data collected from the radio collar worn by P-22.
 — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


While tracking P-22, wildlife ecologist Seth Riley, right, and Jeff Sikich, a National Park Service biologist, climb the rocky hillside of Griffith Park after examining the remains of a deer likely killed by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
While tracking P-22, wildlife ecologist Seth Riley, right, and Jeff Sikich, a National Park Service biologist, climb the rocky hillside
of Griffith Park after examining the remains of a deer likely killed by Griffith Park's P-22 mountain lion.
 — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


He has tried to catch the attention of female mountain lions with scratchings in the dirt, raked piles of leaves marked by urine, feces, secretions, and with an occasional purr and chirp. But there has only been silence in return, not the coupling that researchers describe almost lyrically, when a male and female lion’s GPS coordinates nearly merge and stay together for a week or so.

Biologists are surprised that P-22 has remained as long as he has in Griffith Park and have concluded that the cat recognizes the risk of leaving. Still it is possible that one day his instinctual drive to mate will lead him out of the park.

The isolation and the wanderlust of Southern California's mountain lions do not bode well for the species.

“Pumas in areas like the Santa Monicas, the Santa Anas and especially the postage stamp of Griffith Park, are betting against the house,” says UC Davis biologist Walter Boyce. “In the long run, the house always wins.”


Wildlife ecologist Seth Riley, right, and Jeff Sikich, a biologist for the National Park Service, walk through a tunnel used by P-22 as the mountain lion makes his way around the north end of Griffith Park and neighboring properties. The pair use maps and data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe his travels. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Wildlife ecologist Seth Riley, right, and Jeff Sikich, a biologist for the National Park Service, walk through a tunnel used by P-22 as
the mountain lion makes his way around the north end of Griffith Park and neighboring properties. The pair use maps and data
from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe his travels. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


ORION'S BELT, three pricks of light not quite lost in the city's luminous glow, clears the ridgeline to the east.

P-22 strikes. Flexor muscles extend inch-long claws into the soft tissue of a raccoon.

He bites into the back of the mammal's neck, severing the spinal cord with a jaw strength that few other creatures can match.

With the limp body hanging from his mouth, he disappears into the brush, where he licks the fur off its skin, tears the flesh and gnashes through bone with his sharp teeth. He prefers the muscles, the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver — tissue and organs most rich in blood and fat — to the stomach and intestines.

He takes his time with the quarry, burying it and wandering off, then returning to eat.

By the time he is finished, there’s little left other than a mound of hair, a paw and the small Halloween mask of its face, remnants that Sikich and his colleague, Seth Riley, discover when they trace the lion's route a week later.

While biologists marvel at P-22's ability to adapt, they want to make it easier for other mountain lions. They hope that one day a wildlife bridge will span the 101 at Liberty Canyon, so that lions and other species can wander between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills and the Santa Susana Mountains. The goal is to connect these smaller enclaves with the Los Padres National Forest where there is greater genetic diversity.

There is an urgency to this hope.

On the second day after P-22's raccoon kill, a lion labeled P-39 tried to run north across the 118 Freeway near Chatsworth. A vehicle hit her. The impact knocked her collar off, and her body was recovered by Caltrans.

Within six weeks, two of her three blue-eyed cubs had also been struck down on that freeway.


AT 1:00AM, December 5th, P-22's collar switches on. He is south of Mount Lee, heading toward Beachwood Drive.

To the west is the Hollywood sign, to the east the Observatory, and to the south, haze smudges the city streets and distant skyscrapers.

He cuts southwest to Lake Hollywood and makes his way through a break in the 10-foot tall fence, reaching the secluded watershed. Pines, deodars, toyon and laurel provide cover as he waits for deer to wander close.

He's completed a seven-day circumnavigation of the park.


Seth Riley, left, and Jeff Sikich stand atop a trail on the north end of Griffith Park overlooking the 134 Freeway and Burbank as they use maps and data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe the travels of Griffith Park's mountain lion. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Seth Riley, left, and Jeff Sikich stand atop a trail on the north end of Griffith Park overlooking the 134 Freeway and Burbank
as they use maps and data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe the travels of Griffith Park's mountain lion.
 — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


Hikers frequent the trails in Griffith Park where biologists with the National Park Service use maps and data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe the travels of the Griffith Park mountain lion. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
Hikers frequent the trails in Griffith Park where biologists with the National Park Service use maps and data from a radio collar
worn by P-22 to observe the travels of the Griffith Park mountain lion. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


National Park Service biologist Jeff Sikich, center, talks with hikers Charles Haid, right, and Rene Auberjonois on a trail overlooking Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios, where they say they have observed a mountain lion. Sikich uses maps and data from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe the travels of Griffith Park's mountain lion. — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.
National Park Service biologist Jeff Sikich, center, talks with hikers Charles Haid, right, and Rene Auberjonois on a trail overlooking
Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios, where they say they have observed a mountain lion. Sikich uses maps and data
from a radio collar worn by P-22 to observe the travels of Griffith Park's mountain lion.
 — Photograph: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.


Ingenuity in the name of survival isn't unique to P-22, but he is the luckiest.

Since 2002 when National Park Service biologists started studying mountain lions in Southern California, eight have been killed by other mountain lions, six have been killed by cars or trucks, three have died of anticoagulant poisoning and three cubs have died of starvation and abandonment.

One cat, P-15, was found with his head and paws cut off. A promised reward never flushed out the hunters.

As for P-22, he is getting old, almost 7. Mountain lions seldom live longer than 10 years in the wild. His collar has a mortality sensor that alerts Sikich and Riley if he has not moved in 12 hours.

So far, the absence of that signal reassures them that the city still has room for the big cat to roam.


About this story: The reporting for this article came from interviews with Jeff Sikich and Seth Riley, National Park Service; Miguel Ordeñana, wildlife biologist, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; Winston Vickers, UC Davis Wildlife Health Center; Walter Boyce, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Chris Kochanny, Vectronic Aerospace; Eric Boldt, National Weather Service; Daniel Swain, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA; Steve Padilla, Mount Wilson Solar Telescope, UCLA; Amanda Parsons, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Gail Levy, Mount Sinai Parks; and Ben Sussman, Forest Lawn.

Graphics sources: Mapzen, OpenStreetMap, NOAA, USGS, National Park Service.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related stories:

 • PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY: A week in the life of P‑22

 • Blue-eyed mountain lion kitten is killed by vehicle while crossing 118 Freeway near Simi Valley

 • Watch a mountain lion drag a deer carcass from a Bay Area front porch

 • Mountain lion known as P-45 no longer faces the death penalty


http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-griffith-park-mountain-lion
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