Attempts to dislodge cougar hiding under LA house fail

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2015 1:13 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A mountain lion that's a local celebrity has moved in under a Los Angeles home, and despite wildlife workers using a prod and firing tennis balls and bean bags at it, it appears unwilling to move.

Jason Archinaco, the homeowner in the hilly Los Feliz neighborhood, tells KNBC-TV (http://bit.ly/1ypl8o3) that workers installing a home security system encountered the cougar in a crawlspace around noon Monday. He was still there more than 10 hours later.

"I don't think he's going to come out," Archinaco said. "He's probably been living here for a while. ... He thinks this is his den."

The animal, which has a red ear tag, is known as P-22 and normally lives in nearby Griffith Park.

P-22 arrived in the area several years ago from the Santa Monica Mountains and crossed two freeways to get there.

After darkness fell, state wildlife officials cleared most media and gawkers away from the area and used several techniques to try to dislodge him.

They tried poking him gently with a long prod, but that did little — other than temporarily lose the pricey GoPro camera they'd attached to the end of it that fell off.

They attempted to fire a tennis ball cannon into the crawl space with hopes that at least the noise and commotion would scare him out, a tactic that often works with coyotes.

They then fired small bean bags, the same kind police sometimes use for human crowd control, toward the cat.

All of the tactics, shown live on streaming video, drew mild reactions from P-22, but none came close to drawing him out or even getting him to significantly move.

P-22 was famously photographed in 2013 by National Geographic with the Hollywood sign in the background, and was captured last year in several sharp photographs from a remote camera in Griffith Park.

He survived mange and a meal of rat poison last year to become apparently healthy again.

Wildlife officials said late Monday night that their next move would probably be to do nothing, just wait for him to come out. They said the danger to the neighborhood is no greater than they experience on any other night.

Archinaco said he and his wife have three ordinary house cats and had thought about adding to their numbers.

"My wife wanted a fourth one," he said, "but not this way."