Mountain lion spotted in Beverly Park probably dashed across the 405

Another mountain lion, besides P-22, probably braved a 405 Freeway crossing

A ghostly looking image of a mountain lion, pale and blurry, was caught via home security camera by a resident near Beverly Park, east of the 405 Freeway, last week.

Though the photo raises alarm among area residents, it also raises questions for local wildlife experts. This could be the second mountain lion to have crossed the 405.

The image, circulated on Twitter, shows a mountain lion that looks to be at least a year old running down a street about 4:30 a.m, said Seth Riley, wildlife ecologist for the National Park Service.

If the photo was actually shot in the Beverly Park area -- and Riley said there's no reason to assume it was not -- the cat could have crossed over the 405 from the Santa Monica Mountains to reach the neighborhood. 

The image was posted Nov. 29 on the account of musician and actor Christopher Stills, son of musician Stephen Stills.

P-22, the resident Griffith Park mountain lion, had been thought to be the first to journey across the 405. Before ecologists were tracking P-22 by radio, it's assumed the big cat crossed two freeways to reach the park.

"It's very likely [P-22] came from the Santa Monica Mountains," Riley said, so "he would have had to cross the 405 and the Hollywood Freeway."

The angle and quality of the photo provides little clues as to the gender and exact age of the mountain lion.

The puma in the photo is part of a small community. Riley said an estimated eight or nine mountain lions, not including kittens, live in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Pumas in the Santa Monicas are trapped on an island of habitat, bound by freeways, the ocean and Oxnard's agricultural fields.

Scientists say inbreeding points up the need for easing the passage of wildlife -- providing them a way to cross Southern California freeways. In September, a public rally was held to raise money for a wildlife crossing at the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills.

For more news, follow @smasunaga. She can be reached at samantha.masunaga@latimes.com.

 

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