Last March, Griffith Park's resident mountain lion -- P-22 was found to be suffering from mange and overexposure to rat poison. Now, nearly eight months later, Park officials have release photographs in which P-22 appears to be, strong, healthy, and happily feeding on the carcass of a deer.
P-22's health problem was originally discovered when researchers recaptured him in order to replace the battery in his GPS tracking collar. At that time P-22 appeared thin and afflicted with mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes crusting and skin lesions. Blood tests indicated that he'd been exposed to rat poisons that have been linked to that condition.
At that time, P-22 was treated with topical medications and Vitamin K injections to offset the poisoning, and released back into the park.
The photos released Thursday were taken by remote cameras in the park set up at the site of one of P-22's fresh deer kills. In them, P-22's coat looks shiny and even, the back of his ears and top of his head free of any signs of mange.
However, Dr. Sikich also warned that without actual blood tests, it's impossible to know exactly how healthy P-22 really is, but the more than 1,500 photos recently taken of P-22 were encouraging.
In addition to P-22's good news, a grainy photograph taken by a home surveillance camera was just released showing a different mountain lion lurking in the Mulholland area near Beverly Park.
According to Kate Kuykendall with the National Park Service (NPS), this sighting is significant because it marks only the second time in the past 12 years that a verified mountain lion sighting has occurred east of the 405 Freeway.
Kuykendall indicated that based on the image alone, it was difficult to tell the mountain lion's age, gender, or physical condition, but she suspected that the lion was probably a dispersing sub-adult and possibly one of the kittens of another lion NPS was tracking in the Santa Monica Mountains.
P-22 was the first recorded mountain lion to successfully cross the 405 freeway.