Los Feliz

Mountain Lion P-22 Caught on Camera in Los Feliz Neighborhood

The famous mountain lion P-22 was caught on camera drinking water from a sprinkler in a Los Feliz neighborhood as a major heat wave is sweeping across Southern California.

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A mountain lion with some star power was captured on security cameras sauntering down Griffith Park Boulevard in Los Feliz.

It appears P-22 was out for a neighborhood stroll at the same time a family was outside walking their dog in the community north of downtown Los Angeles.

"We always walk down here with our dog," said Victoria Calleja, a Los Feliz resident.

Calleja and her husband were out walking their dog around 10 p.m. Sunday and came face to face with an apex predator.

"As I kind of rounded that corner and just looked at him we were looking at each other square in the eyes," Calleja said. "I don't expect to see you here, this is a chance encounter."

The mountain lion is believed to be the famous P-22, who has been reported before in the same area near Griffith Park.

"It was honestly the best celebrity encounter I ever had living in LA to just run into him," Calleja said.

Calleja picked up her 17 pound dog Herminone and backed away slowly. She checked her surveillance cameras when she got home and found images of the mountain lion.

"I'd like to see him but I don't feel in danger," said Mike Eberts, a Los Feliz resident.

Nearby residents like hearing about sightings of P-22 and believe he may have ventured out of Griffith Park because of the heat.

"Well maybe he was looking for water," Eberts said. "I mean its been so hot, its been so dry I guess he had to venture out of the park."

In fact, when Calleja spotted the mountain lion he was lapping up water.

"I found him drinking from a sprinkler head that was kind of dripping down onto the sidewalk," Calleja said.

Experts who track and study P-22 say the mountain lion was probably thirsty but knows how to handle the heat.

"They are acclimated to these hot and dry summers that can last through October," said Ana Beatriz Cholo from the SAMO Mountains National Recreation Area.

Beatriz Cholo says it it exciting to see P-22, one of the oldest mountain lions experts have been studying. But it is important to give these big cats the space and respect they deserve.

"This is still a wild animal," Beatriz Cholo said. "As much as we love P-22 don’t pet it, don’t come anywhere near it. You need to give it distance, let it go on its way."

The celebrated big cat, who wears a tracking collar as part of a wildlife study, is believed to have come from the Santa Monica Mountains. He somehow crossed the 405 and 101 freeways into Griffith Park about 10 years ago.

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