An elusive mountain lion that resides in Griffith Park padded slowly through the residential streets of the Hollywood Hills last week — and the animal’s calm stride was caught on surveillance video.
Two camera angles show the puma walking down the roadway alongside parked cars on March 5, just before dawn, according to the time stamp on the videos.
The mountain lion was spotted from a home at Hollyridge Drive and Graciosa Drive (map), according to Derek Althen, whose friend’s cameras captured the images.
The area, which is filled with curving streets lined with homes, is about one-half mile from the edge of Griffith Park’s Bronson Canyon, and about 1 1/2 miles directly south of the Hollywood sign.
After years of rumors about the existence of a mountain lion living within 6 1/2-square-mile Griffith Park, one named P-22 was first documented with photographic evidence in February 2012. The animal is believed to be the most urban mountain lion in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported last fall.
The male cougar’s image was also captured wandering the city park a year ago in high-quality photos that were published in National Geographic last December.
A spokeswoman for National Park Service’s sprawling, patchwork Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, confirmed that the video taken last week indeed shows P-22.
Though the video is grainy, the lion does appear to be wearing a radio collar, which researchers use to track pumas.
P-22 was radio-collared in March 2012, when wildlife biologists briefly captured him and took samples from him, according to Kate Kuykendall, a spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains federal park, where mountain lions are being studied.
The mountain lion came into Griffith Park from a couple dozen miles to the west, she said.
“It was kind of an amazing journey,” Kuykendall said. “He came from the Santa Monica Mountains and that means that means he crossed the 101 and 405 freeways to reach Griffith Park, which is incredible.”
P-22 will have to venture back across those freeways when he is ready to mate — a treacherous prospect. Elsewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains, wildlife crossings have been proposed to ease animals’ passage across busy freeways and to prevent inbreeding.
But that won’t help P-22.
Some residents in the area of the Hollywood Hills video sighting said they were concerned for children in the area, but most expressed awe that the seldom seen wild beast was in their midst.
“Bring him a mate and let him cozy up somewhere,” one Hollywood Hills resident said. “There’s lots of good caves in Griffith Park.”
That attitude isn’t shared by all, however.
Last week, a mountain lion killed a 100-pound dog in Fontana, prompting an unsuccessful search by firearm-wielding police for the animal. That sighting, by the dog’s owner, occurred at a home at the edge of the San Gabriel Mountains.
After a mountain lion was again seen on Saturday, Fontana’s police chief traveled to Sacramento Monday to talk to Department of Fish and Wildlife officials about protecting city residents from cougars, according to a police news release.
Note: This post was updated to reflect the confirmation that P-22 was seen in the surveillance video.