Hollywood Hills residents who spotted a mountain lion identified as P-22 described the roaming animal as looking "focused" as he passed by million-dollar homes and luxury cars in the night. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon Wednesday, March 12, 2014.
The mountain lion spotted roaming the Hollywood Hills is on the move, and experts believe he may be trying to head back to his original home on the west side of the Santa Monica Mountains.
"(On Monday), he was spotted in the Hollywood Dell area," said Officer Greg Randall, a wildlife specialist with the city of Los Angeles. "It makes me feel that he’s actually on the move back to where we first discovered he was, here in the hills above Barham, right near the Hollywood Bowl, maybe returning to his old stomping grounds."
The 4-year-old mountain lion known as P-22 made Griffith Park his home in 2012 (pictured below). To get there he made a 20-mile trek over the Hollywood (101) and San Diego (405) Freeways from the west side of the Santa Monica Mountains.
"Mountain lions require a large home range, particularly the males require about a 300-mile home range so for him to travel out this far is not that big of a deal," Randall said.
On the morning of March 5, P-22 was spotted on surveillance video and at least one resident strolling down Holly Ridge Drive. Typically solitary creatures, Randall believes the mountain lion is either looking for some new real estate or a companion based on the fact that the lion was wearing a radio tracking collar.
Hollywood Hills residents Perry and Kelly Martin knew nothing about P-22 until after notifying animal control that they noticed him on their street.
"I saw my neighbor's motion detector go on. Every time that goes on there's always something exciting like a deer," Kelly said. "I feel kind of honored that I saw the cougar of Griffith Park, and that's a rare sighting."
Perry snapped a photo of P-22 when he spotted the collar.
"I don't think it was looking at me like a midnight snack, but it was definitely focused on me the whole time," Perry said.
As long as P-22 is on the prowl in residential areas Randall suggests residents take some precautions.
"The recommendation is still to walk your dogs on a leash, be aware of your surroundings and alter the time of day you’re going on your walks," Randall said. "If you’re going for walks dusk and dawn are when you want to be more careful because that’s the time you might see a mountain lion."
Randall believes that the National Park Service, which has been monitoring P-22 via the GPS collar, will try to capture him soon to check the battery on the collar and make sure he’s healthy.