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P-22, Famous Griffith Park Mountain Lion, To Get A 'Health Evaluation'

A mountain lion stands in the middle of a clearing, lit up by the flash of a remote camera.
P-22, captured on a remote camera in 2014.
(Courtesy National Parks Service via Flickr)
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On Thursday, local wildlife officials announced plans to capture the mountain lion of Griffith Park, P-22, and bring him in for a health evaluation.

Why now? P-22 is old and may be exhibiting signs of distress. He's lived well past the typical life expectancy for a mountain lion, and scientists are noticing a recent change in his behavior, said Beth Pratt with the National Wildlife Federation. Last month, P-22 was deemed responsible for killing a leashed pet, furthering scientists’ suspicions.

Why it matters: P-22 has lived for over a decade in the smallest known home range ever recorded for a male mountain lion, cut off from surrounding habitats by Los Angeles' urban sprawl. The challenges of living in isolation seem to be increasing.

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What happens next: We don't know what wildlife officials will do, but Pratt said we "must recognize when the limits of this unconnected space have been reached" and take action to protect P-22 and the community. In a tweet, Pratt said, "[e]uthanasia is not an option anyone wants to pursue and likely would only be undertaken if there was a serious health issue that would cause suffering." In a separate statement, she said officials are "committed to providing any necessary funding needed to ensure P-22 has the best care he needs," saying the decision to capture and evaluate is the "right one," and adding a personal note:

"This is an emotional time for many. It’s an emotional time for me. P-22 transformed my life, and the lives of so many others. He has been an inspiration and will continue to be."

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