Research Mountain Lion Found Dead in Santa Monica Mountains
The only remaining collared male mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains was found dead last month. Federal and state officials determined the animal, known by the National Park Service as P-15, did not die of natural causes. The California Department of Fish and Game has begun an investigation.
P-15 was part of an NPS research study in which the mountain lions are fitted with GPS-equipped collars so officials can observe the animals. P-15’s collar stopped transmitting on Aug. 25, and he was found dead on Sept. 11, according to a press release from the National Park Service.
“This is a significant blow to the mountain lion research study,” said NPS wildlife ecologist Seth Riley in the release. “There are not a lot of mountain lions left in the Santa Monica Mountains, and each one plays an important role in the overall local survival of the mountain lion population.”
This is the second recent death of a collared mountain lion in the area. P-18 was killed in August, when he was hit by a vehicle while trying to cross the 405 Freeway.
“NPS biologists devote considerable time and resources to capturing and fitting mountain lions with collars; it may take several weeks for a successful operation and the loss of even one lion is a setback to the research on wildlife movement and the importance of habitat connectivity,” the NPS’ release states.
Those with information about the death of P-15 should contact the Fish and Game’s tip hotline at 800-334-2258.