In the northern end of Los Feliz lies Griffith Park, the second largest urban park in California with over 4,000 acres of land. The park is home to only one mountain lion known as P-22 and it was originally spotted in the surrounding park area around February 2012. The lion is suspected to have arrived from nearby Santa Monica Mountains, which meant it would have had to travel over 20 miles with some of that distance across highways 101 and 405.
Within the last four months the lion has been struggling against mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes hair loss and infections. Scientists used trail cameras located in areas across the park to investigate how P-22 contracted the illness, and it turns out the mountain lion was living with an infestation of mites. Scientists treated the lion for mange as well as rodenticide poisoning, as rodenticide can travel within a food chain and build up within top predators.
P-22 is still able to successfully hunt and gather food on its own, but it will require attention to make sure a relapse of the illnesses do not occur. Scientists and park rangers are keeping tabs on his location with a GPS tracker as well as using park cameras to observe the lion’s fur growth and movement. Due to the potential dangers to wildlife, consumers will no longer be able to purchase higher doses of rodenticide starting in July. Scientists have even suspected that the chemicals found in rodenticide can increase the vulnerability of animals to mange or other illnesses.
The mountain lion, P-22, is providing scientists with data on how a lion species survives within Griffith park, but at the same time, P-22 is reminding the community of Los Feliz the delicate balance of wildlife living within the middle of Los Angeles. Los Feliz and nearby cities, such as Glendale, understand the importance of protecting wildlife environments. With P-22 recovering from its illnesses, the community can set this event as a precedent for future improvements upon ensuring the safety of natural habitats for both humans and animals.