The hunt for ‘Hollywood Cat’: Elderly mountain lion that appeared on 60 Minutes and earned a profile in The New Yorker must be captured after it stalked and killed two pet dogs
- Wildlife officials will capture and evaluate the health of ‘Hollywood Cat’ – or P-22
- The lion stalked and killed a leashed chihuahua in the Hollywood Hills two weeks ago, before attacking another pet dog in Silver Lake on Sunday
- P-22 is 12 years old, which is elderly for a mountain lion, especially one that has survived in an urban environment
- Experts are concerned that a change in his behavior is an indication of distress
- P-22 has been featured on 60 Minutes and was the subject of a 6,000-word New Yorker profile after gaining fame for crossing freeways to get to Griffith Park
An elderly mountain lion dubbed Hollywood Cat will be captured and evaluated by authorities after it showed ‘unusual behavior’ by killing two pet dogs – one of which was leashed and being walked when it was stalked and ripped apart.
The animal gained notoriety – a slot on 60 Minutes and a 6,000-word profile in The New Yorker – after successfully crossing two busy freeways in southern California to get to its new ‘habitat’ in LA’s Griffith Park.
P-22, so named because of the GPS tracker used by the National Park Service to monitor his whereabouts, has been monitored by authorities for most of his life.
But the ‘remarkably old’ big cat, now aged 12, is considered dangerous after it attacked a dog in LA’s Silver Lake on Sunday – two weeks after stalking and killing the leashed pet chihuahua named Piper while it was being walked in the Hollywood Hills.
It has also been lurking near people’s homes close to Griffith Park.
P-22 is tracked by National Park Service using a GPS device (seen above). It gained notoriety for successfully crossing the San Diego 405 and the Hollywood 101 freeways to get to the Griffith Park area where it made its home
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the animal may be in distress, so they want to capture it to evaluate its health. They have, however, warned people to stay away from P-22 and not try to help with its capture.
Hollywood Cat gained fame for successfully crossing the San Diego 405 and the Hollywood 101 freeways to get to the Griffith Park area.
Mountain lions are considered old at the age of 10 so P-22 is particularly elderly, especially considering that he lives in an urban environment.
Recent changes in behavior – including stalking a dog being walked by its owner – lead experts to think it ‘may be exhibiting signs of distress.’
But it’s not the first time P-22 has found itself in some hot water. Six years ago, it staged a daring night-time raid on the Los Angeles Zoo during which it scaled an 8 foot wall to make off with a koala bear.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service plan to capture P-22 to evaluate his health and ‘determine the best next steps for the animal while also prioritizing the safety of surrounding communities.’
According to the DFW: ‘This is an unprecedented situation in which a mountain lion has continued to survive in such an urban setting.
‘As P-22 has aged, however, the challenges associated with living on an island of habitat seem to be increasing and scientists are noting a recent change in his behavior.
P-22 has been featured on 60 Minutes and even earned a 6,000- word New Yorker profile, but of late the lion has been blamed for killing a leashed dog in the Hollywood Hills and allegedly attacking another in Silver Lake on Sunday
At age 12, it is ‘remarkably old’ for an urban-dwelling mountain lion. The lion was captured roaming through a neighborhood recently
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife believes the animal may be in distress, so they want to capture it to evaluate its health. It was seen on a home camera, climbing onto porches
‘This underscores the consequences of a lack of habitat connectivity for mountain lions and all wildlife.’
California is home to approximately 4,000 to 6,000 mountain lions and they are legally classified as a ‘specially protected species.’ Because of that status, they cannot be hunted, injured or transported in any way. For the most part, they reside in foothills and mountains, or wherever deer are present.
However, the lions have also strayed into more populated urban areas for many years now. Male lions can travel up to 200 miles in search of new territory.
In 2010, a mountain lion surfaced in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto in late August. The local police quickly shot and killed the animal.
Experts partly blame California’s rapid and massive urbanization in the 1990s and 2000s for the increased presence of mountain lions in urban spaces. As humans keep spreading out, the lions are more likely to encounter them.
P-22 is one of the oldest mountain lions being tracked in the Southland area.
Tim Daly of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said: ‘I was told 10 is considered to be old for mountain lions in the area and P-22 is 12.’
An official with the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation said she is confident federal and state authorities will make the right decision regarding the lion after a health evaluation.
P-22 is seen on this security footage prowling along a residential street moments before the attack in the Hollywood Hills. The dogwalker said: ‘It was like a two- or three-second struggle… He didn’t growl at all. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance’
Wildlife officials followed the lion as it roamed back out to the woods and are now looking to capture the animal
‘P-22 has given us so much,’ Beth Pratt, California regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement. ‘He is a beloved wild mountain lion that survived against all odds. His plight of being trapped in Griffith Park after making a perilous journey across two of the busiest freeways in the country showed the world how harmful our roadways can be to mountain lions and all wildlife.
‘He captured the imagination of people around the globe, and his story inspired the building of the world’s largest urban wildlife crossing outside of Los Angeles so that other area mountain lions don’t suffer the same fate.’
In late November, P-22 ripped apart a chihuahua named Piper as it was out on a walk near the Hollywood Reservoir at Creston and Durand Drives, clamping down on the dog and tearing it away from its horrified walker.
‘I felt the tug and I heard Piper squeal,’ the dogwalker told KTLA. ‘I turn around and I just saw a face. I didn’t know what it was.
‘It was like a two- or three-second struggle… He didn’t growl at all. I didn’t even hear him. I never had a chance.’
Daniel Jimenez, Piper’s owner, was celebrating his daughter’s birthday when he received a text from the walker which read: ‘The mountain lion attacked and took away your dog. Killed your dog.’
‘We thought it was a joke, but it turned out it was real, and we were just shocked,’ said Jimenez, who said he was ‘devastated’ by the loss.
The lion was first captured and outfitted with a tracking collar in 2021. He weighed 123 pounds at the time of his last capture.
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