We've all heard the old adage that with fame comes a price. The famous Griffith Park mountain lion learned that first hand when he became first a sought after celebrity, and then very seriously ill when in a twisted game of cat and mouse, he was poisoned by rodenticides, then contracted mange. The good news is that P-22's health seems to be on the up and up- at least according to this pair of remotely captured videos that depict him roaming through his natural habitat.
In the first video researchers noted signs of mange are visible, which include matted clumped hair. In southern California, wildlife researchers have been studying the link between rampant pesticide use and mange —parasitic mites which burrow into the skin or hair follicles causing bald spots, scabs, and sores. Left untreated, mange has contributed to the death of many wild and domestic animals. In the greater Los Angeles area, the poison-mange correlation has become an epidemic, affecting countless bobcats, coyotes, foxes, birds and even mountain lions.
When researchers captured P-22 in March 2014 they gave him some topical treatments and dosed him with vitamins in an attempt to boost his immune system, unsure whether this would be enough to help him recover completely. In the subsequent video, we see that his coat is looking much better- a sign that his health is improving. But don't bust out the champagne just yet, he still needs to put on some more weight before its deemed a full recovery, and we still need to address the cause of his illness in the first place, by restricting the use of poisons in our ecosystem and promoting the use of safer alternatives.