GPS Tracks An Unlikely Hollywood Star

p-22_mountain_lionGPS Tracks Unlikely Hollywood Star

Hollywood: many head here for the glamour, glitz, fame and fortune. When I say “many,” I mean “people.” However, there is one unlikely character who’s risen to a fame all his own. He’s called P-22, and he’s a mountain lion living in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. How close is he? From his home, the Capitol Records building in Hollywood is visible.

Scientists are tracking P-22 with a GPS tracker, and a National Geographic photographer is incorporating the use of a trail camera in order to learn about this fascinating creature and observe its movements throughout the area. He is a nocturnal animal, hunting in the woods close by at night, and sleeping during the day. As far as scientists know, this 4-year-old mountain lion is the first to get this close to civilization in Southern California.

He’s Going To Be A Star!

This cat will be a star of his own soon, as the photographer from National Geographic is hard at work capturing images thanks to the motion-activated trail camera. One of the images shows just how close this creature lives in relation to the city: the famed Hollywood sign can be seen in the shot!

Being the only mountain lion known to live in Griffith Park, scientists say he has it made in the shade. With no other lions around, he has his pick of prey. They know this because of a project in 2012, where they affixed GPS tracking collars to over 20 cougars located in the Santa Monica Mountains. They’ve been tracking P-22 since March of 2012.

So Far, So Good

P-22 hasn’t been causing any problems with people in the area, noting that hikers aren’t reporting sightings. This shows that the mountain lion is behaving naturally: “finding his natural prey and staying elusive.” Scientists believe the lion moved to the park from the Western Santa Monica Mountains right before being collared in February 2012.

Collaring The Lion

The researchers knew it was important to employ the use of a GPS tracker to keep an eye on the mountain lion, and set some traps with cameras. One March morning, scientists received a text alert – the lion had been captured in the trap. After sedating the large cat, a GPS collar was affixed to the lion’s neck. The collar sends GPS location data at regular intervals throughout the day, which is stored in a database researchers can view on a website.

P-22’s Future

Besides becoming the subject of a National Geographic Magazine centerfold this December, researchers are learning much more about this cat than ever imagined, all thanks to GPS software. Scientists know that P-22 can’t live in the park forever — his age tells researchers that soon he’ll want to mate, which will take him deeper into the wild.

For now, scientists will learn all they can about this creature’s behaviors (and ensure he remains far away from the city!). We don’t advise the capturing and collaring of a lion, but we do have lots of GPS trackers that will help you track your pet – take a look!


Photo Courtesy of contemplicity via Flickr Creative Commons

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