You may have already heard of the famed mountain lion in Griffith Park, near central Los Angeles. Dubbed "P-22,"(Puma number 22) by researchers who are tracking the young male. This internationally-known wild cat has become an icon for the plight of urban wildlife, and the issues facing wildlife managers along the urban fringe.
The media's love affair with P-22 began when a snapshot of the lone lion was taken by a remote camera set up for the Griffith Park Natural History Survey's (GPNHS) Wildlife Connectivity Study. The picture was the first solid evidence of a mountain lion in the Park. Now, this Park is not a grandiose part of the National Park System, but rather its the kind of park that contains merry-go-rounds, a museum, a concert venue, 5 golf courses, and of course the iconic Hollywood sign.
When compared to the size of a "normal" mountain lion range (roughly 250 square miles), the park comes up short. Its a small island of open space measuring about 8 square miles (merry-go-rounds included) that is situated in the 2nd largest city in the U.S, Los Angeles. Given its size, proximity to mass urbanity, and the roughly 10 million visitors to the park annually, all the odds were against this park being host to mountain lions, that is, until P-22 made it his home.