LOS ANGELES -- After two reports of attacks on leashed dogs, mountain lion P-22 has been captured for evaluation, officials said.
One of the oldest and most well-known pumas in Los Angeles was safely caught by state wildlife officials in the backyard of a Southern California home on Monday.
Officials with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife were able to track P-22 through his GPS collar and used darts to tranquilize him before bringing him to be examined by veterinarians at the Los Angeles Zoo. The zoo's medical staff provided emergency care and triage and then released P-22 back to Fish and Wildlife. His initial condition was described as stable, though officials were looking into an anonymous report that he may have been struck by a car recently.
P-22, believed to be around 11 years old, has been involved recently in at least two reported attacks on pets who were being taken out for walks by their owners.
In one case, he killed a Chihuahua on a leash. In another incident, a pet owner fought off the mountain lion after an attack left his dog with multiple lacerations on his neck and throughout his body.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service announced Thursday the plan to capture P-22 to evaluate his health and "determine the best next steps for the animal while also prioritizing the safety of surrounding communities.''
The incidents were considered unusual for P-22, who has co-existed for more than a decade with humans and pets in an area considered the smallest and most-urban range of any mountain lion. Officials said the big cat "may be exhibiting signs of distress.''
Mountain lions hunt animals in the wild but attacks on domestic pets, particularly while leashed with owners, are rare.
P-22 is being evaluated by veterinarians. It is not clear what the next steps might involve.
"We don't know the cause for his sudden change in behavior, but we appreciate the support of the community during this challenging time," said Beth Pratt, regional executive director of the California National Wildlife Federation. "Our hearts go out to the pets and people that in P-22's distress have been impacted."
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