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Environment & Science

Move over P-22, there's a new mountain lion in town




An uncollared mountain lion was spotted in the Hollywood Hills last week. What would it mean for Griffith Park's P22?
An uncollared mountain lion was spotted in the Hollywood Hills last week. What would it mean for Griffith Park's P22?
via Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife cam

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P-22 is arguably the world’s most famous mountain lion. Ever since a Griffth Park camera spotted him in 2012, he's been a celebrity.

P22 walks by one of Miguel Ordeñana's wildlife cameras in the daylight.
P22 walks by one of Miguel Ordeñana's wildlife cameras in the daylight.
Miguel Ordeñana

After making the dangerous trek from the Santa Monica mountains into Griffith Park, crossing the 405 and 101 freeways, he's led a solitary existence.

But, it looks like that could be changing because six days ago, another mountain lion was photographed by a Citizen for Los Angeles Wildlife camera in Laurel Canyon.

Miguel Ordeñana is a wildlife biologist with the Natural History Museum of L.A. County. He was the first to spot P-22 and he spoke to A Martinez about the new big cat in town. He was quick to clarify, this new cat isn't exactly that new.

"Although this photo kind of put the spotlight on this animal now," explained Ordeñana, "there have been sightings since late November 2014 of a mountain lion within the 405/101 gap."

However, the discovery is still special as it is the first time the big cat has been photographed this far east. And when you realize that, you can't help but wonder, will P-22 finally have a companion?

"Who knows? He or she may finally decide to cross the 101 to attempt to take residence in Griffith Park. Little does that animal know though that another mountain lion, a very famous one, already lives in Griffith Park."

The mysterious new mountain lion making its way to Griffith Park can be both good and bad.

"If it is a female, there is a chance that P-22 will like her and she will like him and they will decide to mate...

And if they have kittens, those kittens really will have a tough life making a living for themselves. Because as I said, Griffith Park is small for a mountain lion, especially a male. Then you add another female in there and then these individual kittens if they're not killed by P-22 immediately, they're going to have to leave when they reach adult age because P-22 will not tolerate their presence most likely."

 Believe it or not, that's the best-case scenario. It only gets worse from there.

"But the reality is a lot of these mountain lions have such a heightened level of territoriality because of the small space available that P-22 may see this individual if it's a female as a threat. Or he can chase her out or kill her. Or they might just not like each other."

Those are bleak scenarios if it's a female. If it's a male, there is no "good scenario." There will be an all-out turf war for Griffith Park and it could result in the death of one of the pumas.

To hear more about the new mountain lion and how it would fare in Griffith Park with P-22, click the blue play button above.