Beverly White and David Gregory
Wildlife experts say a mountain lion they tagged in the past is now living in Griffith Park. Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service says the puma's journey to the park was treacherous, and he probably won't stay for long. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
A mountain lion has been roaming the hills of Griffith Park, but experts say there's no reason for alarm.
The puma has been labeled P-22 by the National Park Service, which says the animal took up residence in Griffith Park a few months ago – and it wasn’t easy getting there.
"We're on the very eastern edge of the Santa Monica Mountains here in Griffith Park," said Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service. "He would have had to cross the 101 and the 405 freeways to get here. That is a treacherous journey."
Scientists know a lot about P-22. They sedated and tagged him some time ago and monitoring systems indicate he's still alive and comfortable, at least for now.
"When we did capture him a few months ago, he appeared to be very healthy feasting on deer here," Kuykendall said. "Eventually he's going to want to mate. That will take him away from Griffith Park."
Park patrons say they're ready if P-22 crosses their paths.
"Try to find a big stick or something," said Ashley Luna of Hollywood. "Act bigger, make noises, try to scare him I guess."
"There's coyotes here," Kiara Rivas said. "Had a conversation be like, as long we don't run into any mountain lions. And now there's a puma out there."
Park experts are not surprised P-22 has a fan base on Twitter.
"We've seen this before with the bear in Glendale," Kuykendall said. "And now the lion in Griffith Park has acquired a bit of a following. LA folks love their animals!"