The search is on for Los Angeles’ most well-known wild cat.
Wildlife officers have stated they plan to seize the mountain lion P-22 after issues arose over attainable “indicators of misery” together with killing a leashed Chihuahua final month and attacking one other Chihuahua final week.
Though the prospect of discovering and capturing an animal carrying a monitoring collar could appear easy, a wildlife professional conversant in earlier efforts to trace and entice mountain lions advised The Instances on Friday that such operations are unpredictably advanced.
“It’s as much as the cat,” stated Beth Pratt, the Nationwide Wildlife Federation’s regional govt director for California and chief of the nonprofit’s #SaveLACougars marketing campaign. “It could possibly be a few days or it could possibly be in a month. It simply relies on how rapidly the cat cooperates.”
Elsewhere within the nation, a standard approach to seize cougars is to make use of hounds to pressure the cat right into a tree or to nook it, she stated.
However in Los Angeles, officers will keep away from that tactic due to the chance that the mountain lion will run right into a residential space, down a significant avenue or onto a freeway, Pratt stated.
“We don’t need the O.J. [Simpson freeway] chase occurring with P-22,” she stated.
Domestically, wildlife specialists use a baited cage to entice mountain lions, however it may be weeks earlier than the cat takes the bait.
And easily discovering the place a mountain lion is perhaps is a significant problem, Pratt stated.
P-22 wears a monitoring collar, however the gadget runs on batteries, and setting it as much as present real-time monitoring would rapidly drain its energy provide.
The GPS collars for mountain lions within the Nationwide Park Service’s Los Angeles-area research, together with P-22, ship out one location ping through the day and hourly pings at night time, in response to Pratt.
“It’s a must to be in the fitting place on the proper time, and mountain lions can journey as much as 25 miles in a day,” she stated.
If searchers get shut sufficient, they may be capable to choose up the radio sign additionally transmitted by P-22’s collar, which may put them inside 50 ft of the feline.
However mountain lions, nicknamed “ghost cats,” could be considered introverts who don’t wish to be discovered, Pratt stated.
“They hunt by hiding,” she stated. “They’re extraordinarily good at hiding. Most individuals by no means see a mountain lion [in person].”
The longtime environmental advocate stated Los Angeles residents ought to be acknowledged for coexisting with P-22 and for typically acknowledging that his latest conduct is a part of his nature as a predator.
Residents shouldn’t attempt to intervene in any method or attempt to seize P-22 themselves, but when they see the mountain lion or catch him on safety digicam video, they need to ship tricks to the Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Space, Pratt stated.
Pet house owners ought to be cautious and hold a detailed eye on their animals, she stated.
Mountain lions are most lively at night time and bringing canines and cats inside by nightfall is an effective precaution.
Updates on the search effort weren’t out there Saturday from state wildlife officers or the Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Space.