Eight months after biologists began treating the Griffith Park mountain lion for mange, the newest photos of Los Angeles’ celebrity big cat show him in good health, experts said.
Jeff Sikich, a biologist for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said the cat has recovered after having possibly ingested rat poison in March.
"He looks healthy and has a full belly," Sikich said, basing the conclusion on photos showing multiple angles. "With these high resolution photos I can zoom in and investigate for signs of mange around the back of his ears and top of his head, which is usually where it first develops."
Although biologists have not recaptured P-22 to test his blood, they took over 1,500 photos of the mountain lion on Nov. 21 with a remote-triggered camera.
Sikich set up the camera on a large deer that P-22 had hunted, killed, and proceeded to feed on for four nights. From these images, Sikich determined that the animal’s health had improved.
Biologists discovered that the mountain lion, known as P-22 or Puma-22, was sick in March, after capturing the animal for a routine battery change of his GPS collar.
He was treated for mange and rat poisoning.
While he recovered from the poisoning incident in July, he was still battling mange.
P-22 is part of the National Park Service’s ongoing study of mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains.
Biologists are interested in learning more about how these animals continue to survive in this increasingly fragmented and urbanized environment.
The National Park Service study has previously documented rat poisoning as the cause of two mountain lion deaths.