2013-09-05 / Front Page

A big cat’s big appetite

By John Loesing

It’s not something you see every day in suburban Los Angeles, not even in the remote Santa Monica Mountains south of the Conejo Valley.

P-23, a young female mountain lion recently fitted with a tracking collar by the National Park Service, was spotted by a motorcyclist on Sun., Aug. 25 feeding on a deer at the side of Mulholland Highway near Malibu Springs.

Irv Nilsen stopped his motorcycle and took two amazing photos of the lion crouched over its prey.

NPS biologist Jeff Sikich saw the photos and later went to the kill site. Sikich determined the deer’s death likely occurred from puncture wounds to the neck by the mountain lion, not by the trauma of being hit by a vehicle.

The park service said it is pleased the young mountain lion, which had been captured and collared only a few days before, was able to score such a large kill early in its life.

“That is impressive for a younger female lion, and reassuring just a couple of days after a capture event,” wildlife expert Seth Riley said in an email to NPS staffers.


HERE KITTY KITTY—P-23, a young female mountain lion recently fitted with a tracking collar by the National Park Service, was spotted by motorcyclist Irv Nilsen on Aug. 25 feeding on a deer at the side of Mulholland Highway near Malibu Springs. Nilsen took these two jaw-dropping photos of the lion crouched over its prey. P-23’s mother, P-19, came later to partake in the meal. 
Courtesy of Irv Nilsenand the National Park Service HERE KITTY KITTY—P-23, a young female mountain lion recently fitted with a tracking collar by the National Park Service, was spotted by motorcyclist Irv Nilsen on Aug. 25 feeding on a deer at the side of Mulholland Highway near Malibu Springs. Nilsen took these two jaw-dropping photos of the lion crouched over its prey. P-23’s mother, P-19, came later to partake in the meal. Courtesy of Irv Nilsenand the National Park Service “Of the more than 400 kills our biologists have hiked in on, this is the only one they’ve seen right on a road, so it’s quite a rare sight,” park service spokesperson Kate Kuykendall said.

An adult female, P-19, which is P-23’s mother, also showed up at the kill site, Riley said.

Momma must have been proud.

The National Park Service has tracked more than 30 mountains lions in the Santa Monica Mountains area since it began its research 11 years ago.

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