A mountain lion with a knack for navigating freeway traffic has taken up residence at Griffith Park.
A motion-triggered camera used to survey wildlife in the park captured an image in February of the 3-year-old male known as P-22 and a biologist later
captured it and fit it with a locator collar, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It is the first time a mountain lion has been confirmed to be living in the park despite reports of sightings, which biologists had discounted as mistaken.
The big cat is believed to have traveled up to 20 miles from points farther west in the Santa Monica Mountains, somehow getting over, under or across the Hollywood (101) and San Diego (405) freeways to make its home in the eight-square-mile park, The Times reported.
After it was photographed, National Park Service Biologist Jeff Sikich captured the animal in a trap, sedated it, took samples and measurements and fitted it with a radio/GPS collar so it could be tracked. The GPS function failed but scientists are able to generally track the collar's radio signal, according to The Times.
Sikich wants to recapture the lion and affix a new GPS collar and on Monday he set out a frozen deer carcass to lure it.
The animal is thought to be related to a coastal mountain group of lions, according to preliminary genetic tests, The Times reported.
Sikich expects the cat will eventually seek a mate, possibly causing it to leave the park.
"We're really interested in how he got there, how long he will stay and, if and when he chooses to leave, how he will cross these freeways,'' he told The Times.