P-22 in the Spotlight, but for the Wrong Reason

On March 3, when one of eleven koalas at the Los Angeles Zoo went missing, suspicion was directed toward P-22. He’s the famous mountain lion in Griffith Park who received a beautiful photo spread in National Geographic in 2013. But his recent celebrity status has taken a different turn. He is now the suspect in the death of a koala named Killarney.

Zoo officials believe that P-22 managed to get into the zoo and carry off a female koala bear named Killarney. P-22 was seen on zoo surveillance video the night before. The koala’s remains were found about 400 yards from the exhibit. L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has suggested that P-22 be relocated to a safer, remote area.

Mountain lions like P-22 need roughly 200 square miles instead of the cramped, eight square miles in Griffith Park. But the National Park service says moving P-22 to a larger area would likely put him in competition with another mountain lion. They also say it's natural that mountain lions will prey on other small animals.

Griffith Park has been P-22’s home since 2012, but he was born about 40 miles away. How did he cross busy freeways and come to live in Griffith Park? What are his chances of survival? In this episode of “SoCal Connected,” reporter Derrick Shore explores some of the challenges facing P-22.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Miguel Ordeñana, Natural History Museum of L.A. County
  • Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, National Wildlife Federation
  • Jeff Sikich, National Park Service

(Background image: Los Angeles Zoo video still)


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