One Los Angeles homeowner was shocked to find a celebrity in their house on Monday, but the discovery was anything but pleasant. The celebrity was a mountain lion named P-22, and it was trapped in a crawl space. According to ABC News, the animal was first discovered by the employees of a security company working on the house.
“One worker came sprinting to through our house, white-faced, shouting, ‘There’s a mountain lion under your house!” said homeowner Paula Archinaco.
When Jason Archinaco heard that the worker had come face-to-face with an adult cougar, he though it was a joke.
“I didn’t think for two seconds that it was a mountain lion in my house,” Jason Archinaco told the Los Angeles Times. “If someone says Bigfoot’s in your house, you go, ‘Yeah,’ and you stick your head in there.”
Yet sure enough, P-22 was sitting patiently in the crawl space underneath the house’s balcony. Animal control experts were called to the home, followed by firefighters and officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Wardens were able to quickly identify the mountain lion due to the tag that still hung from the big cat’s ear, indicating it was the famed P-22. The mountain lion became a minor celebrity three years ago when it was first discovered prowling Griffith Park. Since then, the cat has graced the pages of magazines like National Geographic and was involved in a study on the nearby mountain lion population in Santa Monica, where P-22 was originally from.
But on Monday, P-22 was simply an unwanted house guest. Fish and Wildlife wardens used every trick at their disposal to try to dislodge the cougar, including poking the cat with a long stick, firing tennis balls at it, and finally pelting it with bean bags. Despite all their efforts, the mountain lion refused to budge.
“He was just lying there looking like, ‘What? I don’t understand what the hullabaloo is about,’” said Paula Archinaco.
CBS News reports that wildlife officials now believe that the cat is too afraid to come out, and will be backing off to give the animal more space. Wardens will be sprinkling white flour near the entrance of the crawl space to see if the cat has left. If not, it may be necessary to tranquilize the cougar and remove it.
“The plan is to get the cat out safely, and without harming it or anyone around,” said Armando Navarrete, team leader with Los Angeles Animal Services.
You can watch a video of wardens attempting to coax the cat out below:
Image courtesy US National Park Service