A roughly 10-year-old mountain lion has been found dead near the Verdugo Mountains, and wildlife officials are working to determine if the recent La Tuna Fire that scorched more than 7,000 acres in the area may have contributed to its death, authorities announced Thursday.
The male lion, known as P-41, was found dead by a resident Wednesday near the Shadow Hills neighborhood south of the Foothill 210 Freeway, according to the National Park Service. The cause of the death could not be immediately determined, because the lion's body had deteriorated over a several-day period before it was discovered, officials said.
NPS officials noted that P-41 had survived for a few weeks after the La Tuna Fire, which erupted in early September in the Verdugo Mountains, but the blaze may have contributed to the animal's death. A necropsy is planned in hopes of understanding how he died.
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"P-41 had already overcome a number of challenges to survive in a relatively small home range with habitat fragmented by roads and development," said Jeff Sikich, a biologist for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a division of the NPS. "Unfortunately, there are a number of challenges for mountain lions to survive in the area."
Biologists have been tracking P-41 since May 2015, but the GPS device on its collar malfunctioned earlier this summer, so officials were unable to track its recent movements. Over the two years it was being tracked, the lion remained primarily in the Verdugo Mountains area, but he did manage to cross the Glendale 2 Freeway.