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P-22 data show mountain lion left Los Feliz house soon after media hoopla

Griffith Park's P-22 is believed to have the smallest home range of any adult mountain lion ever studied

P-22, the celebrity mountain lion of Griffith Park, spent only a short time under a Los Feliz house before he was discovered by a worker, according to National Park Service scientists' evaluation of GPS data from the puma's tracking collar.

By 6 a.m. Monday, he had left Griffith Park but had not yet arrived in the crawl space of the Glendower Avenue residence. He was discovered there about midday by a security company worker.

The mountain lion's GPS collar is programmed to log eight locations over a 24-hour period, primarily during the evening hours, when he is most active.

The device did not record locations while the approximately 5-year-old, 130-pound cat was hunkered down in the crawl space, probably because it could not communicate with a satellite.

After the worker reported the cougar's presence to the homeowners, they called the city, which contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wildlife officials tried for hours -- until after midnight -- to goad the mountain lion into leaving. Under the glare of TV camera lights, they poked at him with a long stick and pelted him with bean bags and tennis balls, all to no avail.

Officials cleared the area by about 1 a.m. Tuesday and left P-22 a clear path out of the crawl space in the hope that he would vacate the premises. It appears he did not linger long after the crowd dispersed. As of 2 a.m., according to the report released Friday, he had left the residence and was working his way back to the park. The next data point, at 4 a.m., showed that he was within the park.

"After all the hoopla, we're happy to report that P-22 has been spending the past couple of days in the natural and more remote areas of Griffith Park, as he normally does," said Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

"Like most mountain lions, he likes to find a quiet place during the day to rest," Riley said, "but we hope next time it will be in dense chaparral as opposed to under someone's house."

Since 2002, National Park Service scientists have studied mountain lions in and around the Santa Monica Mountains to learn how they survive amid the region's crisscrossing highways and residential areas.

P-22, who has lived in the park for more than three years, is believed to have the smallest home range of any adult mountain lion ever studied. The average home range for a male is typically about 200 square miles. Griffith Park has about eight square miles.

Twitter: @MarthaGroves

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