Are There Mountain Lions In Griffith Park? Everything You Need To Know

Mountain Lions In Griffith Park

Did you think only actors and musicians could become celebrities in Los Angeles? We’re here to tell you that you should rethink this. It looks like even mountain lions (or cougars or pumas or whatever name you want to call them) can join these very hallowed ranks. Let’s hear the tale of P-22 or the Hollywood Cat, the mountain lion that lived in Griffith Park for ten years, from 2012 to 2022.

Are There Mountain Lions In Griffith Park?

Griffith Park has many attractions to offer the casual visitor, from observatories to zoos, but did you know that until very recently that included a wild mountain lion? He somehow made his way into the park from the Santa Monica mountains, crossing two major highways during his journey. He even trekked through the iconic Hollywood Hills.

It was shocking when the furry hindquarters of the cat was caught on a motion sensor camera at Griffith Park. Why did he decide to end his adventure in the heart of LA? We can’t really know. Maybe it was the fact that he could rule over the entire territory with ease. 

If you’ve ever visited the park for a glimpse of the famous cat, you’re far from the only one. After all, he was a local celebrity. I know P-22 seems like an unimaginative name for a cat who lives in Hollywood (his nickname of the Hollywood Cat is only slightly better) but he was named after his father P-001. 

For ten years, he lived an adventurous and exciting life in the middle of the city and was the face of the Californian mountain lion population. And no, he didn’t attack or hurt a human being or even a dog until just before his death.

How Many Mountain Lions In Griffith Park?

Mountain Lions In Griffith Park

Until 2022, there was one mountain lion living in Griffith Park. Now, with the death of P-22, there aren’t any more mountain lions in Griffith Park. 

P-22’s death was a sad event but it’s probably a good thing to not have any more mountain lions there since the park is such a public area and so many people visit it every day. While having a local celebrity mountain lion sounds good, it’s a frightening thing to learn that a big cat is prowling around a park that you regularly visit.

What Famous Mountain Lion Was in Griffith Park?

If you look up the most famous mountain lion in the world, you’ll come across a dozen articles about P-22. What else can we expect from a cat that lives in the middle of Hollywood? Honestly, he’s almost an embarrassment to the species, who tend to stay away from humans as much as possible.

What we know about P-22’s origins is that he came from the Santa Monica mountains and managed to evade all traffic on the highways. This makes him much smarter than many other mountain lions who have died on the LA interstates and freeways. How did he escape that fate? We don’t know. 

The other remarkable thing about P-22 was how content he was with the small Griffith Park. Nine square miles shouldn’t be close to enough territory for a young male. His chosen area of residence also made it impossible for him to find a mate.

P-22 cemented his celebrity status when he was photographed by National Geographic posing under the Hollywood sign.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.

What Happened To The Mountain Lion in Griffith Park?

Mountain Lions In Griffith Park

When reports started coming in of the Hollywood Cat attacking dogs and their owners (unheard of, since he had never done anything like that before), the wildlife officials decided they needed to capture him. 

Once tranquilized, they realized that the big cat was suffering from severe health problems and injuries. It seemed like he had also been hit by a car recently, which is surprising because it was a feat that he had somehow avoided for 12 years despite living in a highly populated area.

Since P-22 was too old and infirm to survive in the wild any longer, even if he was relocated to a national park, the officials decided that it would be kinder to humanely euthanize him. 

While mountain lions don’t exactly celebrate birthdays, he would have been about 12 or 13 years old at the time. P-22 lived longer than any mountain lion that was being regularly tracked by the National Park Service ever had. It’s unfortunate that his long life came to such a tragic end but we can be relieved at the knowledge that he contributed a great deal to awareness about mountain lions during his lifetime.

What To Do If You See a Mountain Lion in Griffith Park?

Imagine you’ve come for a walk in the park, on a regular day, and you suddenly come face to face with a mountain lion. Must be terrifying, right? Luckily for you, the likelihood of this is quite low. It looks like P-22 was the only mountain lion living in Griffith Park and unfortunately, his journey is at an end. But if any others were to follow in his paw prints and take up residence there, you should know what to do. 

You shouldn’t ever turn your back or run from a mountain lion since they might take that as an indication to attack. Standing straight and keeping eye contact with the creature is usually enough to scare the animal away since they don’t like encountering humans. 

If you’ve got children or dogs with you, it would be best to pick them up so they aren’t viewed as targets. And make sure to inform the wildlife services if you do suddenly come upon a mountain lion in the park. But at the same time, you shouldn’t worry as this is likely to be a near-impossible situation.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Idaho


And that was everything about the Mountain Lion in Griffith Park. I hope this article answers all your questions.

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