House cat was a cougar!
A celebrity mountain lion that lounged under a home for hours and refused to budge has wandered out on its own, wildlife officials said. This is despite bean bags, tennis balls and prods that had little effect on moving the animal.
A thorough check turned up no sign of the big cat. It is known as P-22. The lion was found under a residence in the hilly Los Feliz neighborhood. That's near Los Angeles. This is according to Lt. J.C. Healy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Officials from the National Park Service were trying to pick up a signal from the electronic beacon on the cougar's collar to determine its whereabouts.
Homeowner Rachel Archinaco told television station KABC that workers had been installing a home security system. They encountered the cougar. It was in a crawl space."The one worker came sprinting through our house, white-faced, shouting, 'There's a mountain lion under your house!'" she said.
The wild mountain lion has a red ear tag. It normally lives in Griffith Park. That is right next to the neighborhood that features hillsides covered in thick brush. The animal arrived in the area several years ago. It came from the western slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains. The mountain lion crossed two freeways to get there.
National Geographic famously photographed P-22 in 2013. The well-known Hollywood sign could be seen in the background. Several photographs from a remote camera in Griffith Park also captured the cat last year.
The animal survived mange and a meal of rat poison last year to become apparently healthy again.
At the home, wildlife officials cleared most media and gawkers away after darkness fell. Then they used several techniques that would not injure the animal. They just wanted him to leave. The efforts to get the mountain lion to move on were handled by professionals.
Gently, they poked him with a long prod. That did little other than temporarily lose the pricey GoPro camera. It was attached to the end of the prod.
They fired a tennis ball cannon into the crawl space. The idea was that the noise and commotion would scare him out. It's a tactic that often works with coyotes.
They then fired small bean bags. The bean bags were the same kind police sometimes use for human crowd control. The mountain lion seemed unimpressed.
All the tactics were shown live on streaming video. They drew mild reactions from P-22. None came close to drawing him out. They didn't even get him to move much.
Archinaco's husband, Jason, said the couple has three ordinary house cats. The family had thought about adding to their numbers.
"My wife wanted a fourth one," he said, "but not this way."
Critical thinking challenge: How did the mountain lion become a celebrity?