It’s been a month of mountain lion occurrences in California.
Collared mountain lion P-22 was suspected of eating a koala in the Los Angeles Zoo on March 3. Zoo keepers spotted a tuft of hair and koala remains in the enclosure, and got pictures of the cat on the zoo campus near the time of the suspected kill.
P-22 is a 6-year old mountain lion, more commonly referred to as a puma in California. The mountain lion has grabbed headlines for years. In 2014, wildlife managers noted the cat’s health declined as he developed mange, likely because of secondary posioning from eating a rat that had fallen victim to rodenticide.
He’s so famous that he has his own Facebook page, Friends of P22 Mountain Lion, which has more than 4,600 likes.
The group posted a letter that was printed in the Los Angeles Times after the suspected attack:
“To the editor: While I sympathize with the violent loss of Santa Monica Mountains rancher Natalie Riggs’ two sheep because of a mountain lion attack, the larger “scene of almost incomprehensible violence” is really humanity’s growing insistence that wildlife must be culled for our convenience. (“Is P-22 mountain lion too dangerous for Griffith Park? Koala death sparks debate,” March 11)
Endangered wildlife is in accelerating free fall from every corner of the Earth. It is the responsibility of zoo keepers, ranchers and pet owners to make certain that their animals are safely protected with appropriate enclosures and fencing. We humans, after all, continue to move into what was once wild animal domain. It is we who are the invasive species as we insist on claiming every square inch of Earth’s surface as our own.
Wildlife is part of our natural heritage. We gun it down at our own peril.
Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach”
Steve’s Outdoor Adventures TV countered that in a comment:
“Mountain lions are not endangered – they come to town because the mountains territory is full and taken. They are forced out to find their own territory by other lions. This isn’t Disney where they all sit around up there licking each other. Since man is part of the equation and we aren’t going away anytime soon I recommend everyone support hunting conservationists to manage wildlife populations around the world. Hunting is science based and supported wildlife management!”
The page is a great place to see a discussion about how to handle dangerous animals in an urban setting, and it promises to be a debate that wages for a while.
He has a history of shutting down parks. In 2013, a park had to be temporarily closed because P-22 was in the area.
But officials say the mountain lion that was spotted near a Grenada Hills High School on Friday and caused the temporary lockdown of the facility wasn’t the same cat. This three-year old male isn’t famous, just another kitty roaming the hills.