The elusive mountain lion seen in Hollywood has likely been poisoned.
Update: Reports from the Associated Press say the now famous mountain lion has most likely ingested animals killed by rat poison, and is now suffering from mange.
The adult male mountain lion, known by state wildlife officials as P-22, was captured on camera in March wandering the streets of the Hollywood Hills.
Officials tranquilized and captured the lion last month to change the batteries in its GPS tracking collar, and initial tests showed traces of anti-coagulant rodenticide as well as signs of mange, a disease of the hair and skin caused by parasites.
Image via National Parks Service/AP
P-22 was released back into Griffith Park, where biologists say it continues to hunt its natural prey, mule deer. There is no indication that the poisoned mountain lion is any threat to humans, but officials are unsure whether or not it will recover from its circumstance.
In the 12-year history of the National Parks Service’s study of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, only two had ever been diagnosed with mange, and both died on account of rat poison.
Original Story: Residential cameras in a neighborhood of Griffith Park just 1 ½ miles south of the Hollywood Sign captured the footage of the cougar slowly wandering a street lined with cars.
After learning of his existence in Griffith Park in 2012, researchers tracked the cat down and attached a radio collar to his neck to monitor his movements. P-22 is the most urban mountain lion in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Times.
If you watch the video closely, you can see the collar around the cougar’s neck, indicating that he is P-22.
P-22 splits his time between Griffith Park and the Santa Monica Mountains Federal Park. The journey between the two locations is treacherous, according to Santa Monica Mountains federal park spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall.
“It was kind of an amazing journey,” said Kuykendall. “He came from the Santa Monica Mountains and that means he crossed the 101 and 405 freeways to reach Griffith Park, which is incredible.”
P-22 also took the spotlight back in 2012, when National Geographic photographer Steve Winter photographed him in front of the Hollywood Sign.
Mountain lions are elusive and powerful predators. Earlier this year, a mountain lion was believed to have attacked a California homeless man in his encampment. And recently, a mountain lion killed a 100-pound dog in Fontana, California.