Getting the drop on a drop bear
March 11, 2016 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The well-documented foodie lifestyle in the megalopolis of Los Angeles is extending now to the native fauna: P-22, the celebrity mountain lion currently living in Griffith Park and bored of its usual deer and raccoon fare, allegedly bypassed an 8-foot fence topped with barbed wire at the LA Zoo and ate a koala (warning: brief description of koala leftovers). This has sparked a debate about whether the mountain lion/puma/cougar should be relocated or left alone.

This being LA, he has become a local celebrity over the last couple of years, most recently (pre-koala) with much happiness on his health after recovering from mange (warning: mangey picture, but also a handsome, healthy "head shot").

P-22 appeared a year ago on MeFi when he got under a house and refused to leave.
posted by Celsius1414 (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
RAAF Koala intercepted by USAF P-22. News at 11!
posted by eriko at 9:09 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Cover your goddamned koalas, maybe?

I'm so angry about this. P22 is a giant cat, maybe don't give him access to giant mouse-looking things that were probably a huge disappointment to eat. Must've tasted like a Halls Mentholyptus with chlamydia.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:12 AM on March 11, 2016 [79 favorites]


I'm so angry about this. P22 is a giant cat, maybe don't give him access to giant mouse-looking things that were probably a huge disappointment to eat. Must've tasted like a Halls Mentholyptus with chlamydia.


Obviously the design was insufficient but I'm pretty sure the presence of an 8-foot fence with barbed wire doesn't count as "giving him access" to anything.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2016 [16 favorites]


Lyn Never my coworkers are wondering why I'm snorting into my tea. Hehehe.

In fairness to the zoo I would have assumed an 8-foot wall was a sufficient deterrent as well. And while I find this story hilarious doesn't Griffith Park border a bunch of subdivisions and isn't it always crawling with tourists? Sooner or later P22 is going to eat a toddler and it'll be less amusing. Is this why LA people never go outside?
posted by Wretch729 at 9:25 AM on March 11, 2016


1986-2014, there were 14 verified mountain lion attacks on humans in the entire state of California, only three of which were fatal, and only one of which was in LA County.

And LA people never go outside? Sure. And New York City doesn't have big buildings.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Schaefer, the zoo's general curator, said P-22 is an urban cat. "He's used to solving urban problems in his head."

Add to that the fact that koalas, while cute, aren't super-bright and, well...

Never turn your back on BIG CATS.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


doesn't Griffith Park border a bunch of subdivisions and isn't it always crawling with tourists? Sooner or later P22 is going to eat a toddler and it'll be less amusing.

Mountain lions like P-22 are generally nocturnal so they aren't going about eating kids at the park, but they will definitely eat your cats and puppies if they're out at night.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Sooner or later P22 is going to eat a toddler and it'll be less amusing.

Koalas are nature's toddlers.
posted by beerperson at 9:31 AM on March 11, 2016 [18 favorites]


If he's a celebrity can't they give him a name that doesn't sound like a military can opener?
posted by bondcliff at 9:35 AM on March 11, 2016 [18 favorites]


You know, maybe if they gave P-22 a name that didn't make him sound like an unstoppable killing machine, he'd stop killing things.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:36 AM on March 11, 2016 [29 favorites]


Whoa, Noam Chomsky up in here
posted by beerperson at 9:37 AM on March 11, 2016 [18 favorites]


Local public radio station KPCC had a poll to pick a new name for him, but "keep P-22" won. :)
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:38 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


If your diet consisted largely of urban raccoons, this refreshing change of pace would probably be your version of a curiously strong mint. A koaltoid, if you will.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:40 AM on March 11, 2016 [73 favorites]


Celsius I was kidding, LA is great. I do think the mountain lion is going to eat somebody though.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:43 AM on March 11, 2016


This thread is going koalaesce into a pun thread, isn't it, isn't it?
posted by Oyéah at 9:43 AM on March 11, 2016 [15 favorites]


I'd be lion if I didn't think so.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:44 AM on March 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


We need to build a wall and make the mountain lions pay for it!
posted by FJT at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2016 [22 favorites]


I don't mind the puns as long as they are of a high koalaty.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2016 [35 favorites]


This was one of the things I LOVED about living in LA. When I lived in Los Feliz, there was Griffith Park right there; on the north side of Mt. Hollywood (the peak above Griffith Park Observatory) it feels deserted (or at least it did 20odd years ago). When I lived on the west side, I'd hit dirt Mulholland. In both cases it was a short ride to a feeling like you're a thousand miles away from city. I saw mountain lions (partway up the opposite wall across a canyon), coyotes, foxes, tarantulas. Course, it weren't so cool when a coyote ate my cat in Decker Canyon... (at least I'm assuming that's what happened)
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Authorities categorically deny reports that, subsequent to a necropsy conducted at a Sacramento hospital, the victim's remains were used to make a filtered hot beverage.
posted by zamboni at 10:00 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I like the name P-22. When my friend got a Bengal I got to name it T-800. It fit.
posted by gucci mane at 10:06 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


P-22 says he's innocent, but park rangers say he's lion.
posted by humanfont at 10:09 AM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


Koalas are not bears. /pedant
posted by zakur at 10:16 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


* Reads MeFi thread *

* Gets to "never turn your back on big cats" *

* Turns head to look over shoulder at miniature big cat lounging on warm amplifier *

* Miniature big cat glares right back *

Speech bubble over MBC's head: "just you wait."

Yeah, right.

Seriously, though, two and a half metres of fence topped with barbed wire? A freaking house cat could scale that. Or a police dog. Against Terminator T-22 Cybercat from the Future, that's not a barrier, that's a joke.
posted by cstross at 10:28 AM on March 11, 2016 [21 favorites]


Koalas are not bears. /pedant

True facts about marsupials


Koalas start at 3:30.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:44 AM on March 11, 2016


Why should P22 be moved? The world ain't running out of koalas.
posted by rhizome at 10:48 AM on March 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


The cat was clearly expecting the koala to leave after eating and shooting.
posted by dr_dank at 11:04 AM on March 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


Koalas are nature's toddlers.

If by toddler, you mean a constantly-sleeping, easily scared, clumsy creature that acts like it's on mind-altering drugs at all times?

Well, yeah, that's a pretty good toddler description as well.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:10 AM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


How long do mountain lions usually live? P-22 seems like he's been around for a while, old age might slow him down.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:43 AM on March 11, 2016


As an extra link with adorable (non-eaten) animals in Los Angeles: "Animals Are Taking Selfies At The L.A. Zoo Starting Today".

And the direct link to the Zoogle Selfies page.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:44 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


This bar in prague has resident pumas.

A friend of mine was there the other night. He said it was.... Interesting...
posted by sio42 at 11:47 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


P-22 is I think 6 or 7 years old, and they can live upwards of 20 years.

Here's a National Wildlife Federation page on P-22 and his life, featuring Rainn Wilson for the #SaveLACougars campaign and the famous Hollywood Sign picture of him (the puma not the actor) from National Geographic.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:48 AM on March 11, 2016


We need to build a wall and make the mountain lions pay for it!

Let the bears pay the bear tax! I pay the Homer tax!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:03 PM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Eh, I know what koalas can do to a groin so I'm not mourning.
posted by edeezy at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a bad idea, necessarily, to move P-22 to a place where he's less likely to get run over by cars and more likely to find some nice lady mountain lion to not settle down with.
posted by chimaera at 12:49 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


viously the design was insufficient but I'm pretty sure the presence of an 8-foot fence with barbed wire doesn't count as "giving him access" to anything.

A person who has never had to keep cats in or out of anything might assume that this fence would be adequate. I wouldn't even trust it to control an unsupervised house cat. A house cat in good health will make a four or five foot vertical leap onto something just for fun, can drag itself up onto an even higher surface if motivated, and sees every possible intermediate surface as an opportunity. And that's just a little moggie with all the wits bred out of it.
posted by wotsac at 1:33 PM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Never turn your back on BIG CATS.

Or Ravens.

sorry for the derail but I just love corvids so much
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:40 PM on March 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


For a couple glorious minutes, I'd nearly convinced my skeptical wife that just like the flocks of naturalized parrots, Los Angeles had feral koalas, somehow involved with the eucalyptus that infests the region.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:32 PM on March 11, 2016 [14 favorites]


I'm actually hoping they relocate P-22 for several reasons, mostly having to do with safety. I think it's really fucked up that he wasn't relocated last year when he was stuck under someone's house.

I'm in Griffith Park a few times a week, and I go camping regularly in the areas he'd likely be relocated to. First of all, he'll be better off out in actual wilderness. More importantly, the park will be safer for people. I'm annoyed that when P-22 is finally relocated, they'll have waited so long he may simply migrate back to areas with high human populations because that's what he is used to. There's no such thing as an "urban mountain lion" and one way or another this story probably won't end well. He's already been poisoned. Getting hit by a car is always a danger, but I think the real problem is this cat will regularly wander where he shouldn't and he'll be killed by someone protecting their property or whatever.


I'm pretty sure we had a brush with P-22 a few years ago just after dark one evening. It was fucking terrifying and I still worry about running into this guy on trails in the park, no matter what time of day.


The first year I lived in California, either a jogger or cyclist was mauled to death by a different mountain lion (or maybe there were two similar fatalities in the same year??) There aren't mountain lions where I'm from, and the bears mostly leave you alone. It was a big deal to adjust to the fact something might stalk and attack me on a trail. Or in my local park.

California has HEAPS of open wild spaces. Plenty of room for everyone. I know there is a concern about big cat territories, but I still think it's time for some research and planning.

I'm OK with the coyotes, bobcats, and rattle snakes in the area. I'm drawing the line at mountain lions because there's less chance of successfully fighting one off.

I'm so bummed the koala thing happened and it's all over the news here. I hope no one crazy pants kills him before authorities act appropriately and relocate him to safer environs.
posted by jbenben at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mountain lions don't want to have anything to do with humans. They barely even tolerate other mountain lions, which I'm sure has something to do with the once-per-decade fatality rate for people.

But yeah, it would be cool if P22 had a bodycam to catch any Bad Samaritans who decide to act unilaterally.
posted by rhizome at 2:43 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Actually, there's not in fact heaps of California open space suitable for mountain lions that doesn't already have mountain lions on it, at least in Southern California. There's a reason P-22 came wandering so far to get to Griffith in the first place -- and there have been other mountain lions following paths into LA. Remove him, and you are likely to get another resident mountain lion; you may be better off with a mountain lion that has a track record of avoiding humans successfully.

My concern would be if going after the koala was a sign that its normal prey sources were failing, but it sounds like it didn't actually eat it, so it may just have been curiosity, or possibly even alarm. Still, I'd be concerned that it might come back at some point when it was genuinely hungry, if I were the zoo people.
posted by tavella at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I guess the OP didn't read the stories about how the GPS tracker data was inconclusive, si noone has any idea if it was the cougar or something else that ate the koala.
posted by Docrailgun at 3:50 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I mean, don't move where mountain lions live if you aren't willing to live near mountain lions? I grew up in Southern California and regularly went to at least one park with mountain lion signs. That is the wildlife that lives in Southern California and I don't think anyone has a right to demand its removal for them. (See also: sharks, building in fire zones and then having firefighters risk their lives to save your house. There's a reason that land was empty when you showed up in '95.)

You are way more likely to get creamed on the freeway anyways, but damn, leave the guy alone.
posted by dame at 5:29 PM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


After one of the mountain lion attacks in the '90s, I remember reading a comment from someone who said 'No one told us there would be wild animals around here.' Caveat emptor.
posted by mollweide at 7:06 PM on March 11, 2016


It's not like he went on a rampage.
He had a marsupial snack and decided to koal it a day.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:35 PM on March 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


I guess the OP didn't read the stories about how the GPS tracker data was inconclusive, si noone has any idea if it was the cougar or something else that ate the koala.

Personally I find this to be a very disruptive way of thinking and of course it was P-22, how could anyone think otherwise? Madness, madness I tell you. How would a human even scale a fence at least three feet taller than I am? It's crazy talk and I won't have it.

*urp*
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Too short fence, picky eating and/or killing for pleasure. It's either a person or a cat.
posted by wotsac at 9:02 PM on March 11, 2016


Everyone blames the mountain lion. Meanwhile, the octopuses have eliminated one more obstacle in their path towards world domination.
posted by Your Worshipfulness at 12:39 AM on March 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


warning: brief description of koala leftovers
warning: mangey picture, but also a handsome, healthy "head shot"


something a little dissonant about the idea that anyone who cares about animals should be spared realistic details of how actual animal lives are
posted by iotic at 1:30 AM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am frankly surprised that people who live, visit and hike in mountain lion territory don't wear hats with false eyes on the back. Maybe because the attacks are truly infrequent, there hasn't been the necessity?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:44 AM on March 12, 2016


Everyone blames the mountain lion. Meanwhile, the octopuses have eliminated one more obstacle in their path towards world domination.

While the charismatic little Pacific Tree Octopus thrives in the temperate rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, it could never handle the the aridity of the Los Angeles basin, and so does not compete with the koalas for habitat.

It's true that the avocado farmers in somewhat foggy Santa Barbara - Carpenteria attempted to introduce them to keep the tree rats down, but that experiment barely lasted a year - the little buggers scarpered for the beach the instant it got over 70 degrees.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:59 AM on March 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Really glad someone else brought up the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. Similar problems with interacting with humans -- once again, felidae are to blame, as the species is subject to depredation by housecats.
posted by gusandrews at 7:14 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


This article takes on the issues around moving P-22: Moving The Griffith Park Puma is a Bad Idea.
From a practical perspective, this is simply an ineffective solution, and it's not an animal welfare-oriented one. "When you try to relocate a territorial animal like a male mountain lion, you're likely going to put it in another mountain lion's territory," said Michelle LaRue, research ecologist at the University of Minnesota and executive director of the Cougar Network. Territorial animals will defend their territory with their lives – or take the lives of those trying to edge their way in.

And even if another male didn't kill P-22, he'd keep wandering in search of some free real estate, a journey that would again increase his risk of being hit by a car while crossing a highway. The number two cause of death for mountain lions in Los Angeles is an unsuccessful highway crossing attempt (the number one cause is more natural: aggressive interactions with other mountain lions). "If the idea is to preserve P-22's life," adds LaRue, "relocating him puts him at far more risk that he's at right now."
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:26 PM on March 12, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am frankly surprised that people who live, visit and hike in mountain lion territory don't wear hats with false eyes on the back.

Got a sudden Babar flashback.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:40 AM on March 16, 2016


Hmmm ...

* Starts reading thread

* Opens FPP in new tab but continues reading thread

* Opens and watches "don't turn your back on big cats"

* Looks over YouTube's suggestions and chooses bull elephant dominance display

* Continues on to watch elephants mating

* Looks over to wife thoughtfully

* *omitted for delicacy*

* Closes YouTube, reads FPP

* Follows an "In case you missed it" link to Obama SC nomination

* Returns to reading thread

So, how is *your* day going? #amidoingitright?
posted by Autumn Leaf at 4:53 PM on March 16, 2016


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