Silver Lake had an unusual visitor Tuesday night — a mountain lion.
Marianna Palka, who lives on Berkeley Circle, just a few hundred feet from busy Silver Lake Boulevard, told The Times that she had never seen a mountain lion in the area and thought it was unusual.
The sightings occurred after 7 p.m., said Palka, who added that one of her neighbors called authorities. She wasn’t sure whether her neighbor got through.
Chris Blim, who also lives on Berkeley Circle, said he was standing in the street talking to his friend when something triggered a light on his neighbor’s doorbell camera.
He and the creature locked eyes. At first he thought the animal was a coyote, but he quickly realized it was a mountain lion, Blim said.
“We’re just standing there looking at each other and the light goes off,” he said. “The only thing you see is the eyes, and that’s when the heart drops. This is not a house cat.”
Blim said he took a video of the itinerant feline on his phone. He and his friend then moved to the safety of Blim’s home, where they knew they’d at least have a gate between them and the cougar.
“Ultimately it’s pretty awesome,” he said. “The whole neighborhood’s excited.”
Both Blim and Palka said many residents are speculating that the mountain lion is Griffith Park’s famed P-22, a male cougar that has made many appearances in neighborhoods in and around the Hollywood Hills over the last decade. A trek into Silver Lake, however, would take the cougar well out of the relative safety of the park and farther into the core of Los Angeles.
Researchers believe P-22 is originally from the Santa Monica Mountains, born to P-1 and an unnamed female lion.
Somehow, he found his way to Griffith Park around 2012, meaning he embarked on a journey most Angelenos undertake to get across town — he crossed the 405 and 101 freeways.
His tawny good looks have attracted many fans. In an iconic 2013 image, photographer Steve Winter captured him prowling at night with the Hollywood sign gleaming in the background.
The following year, P-22’s bout with mange, caused by rat poison, was also captured on camera, his normally majestic visage scraggly and grumpy-looking.
Whether the cougar spotted in Silver Lake on Tuesday night is P-22 hasn’t yet been confirmed by authorities.
The Times was not able to reach state wildlife officials, and local authorities said they did not have information on a mountain lion sighting in the area.
But P-22, hemmed in by freeways, is believed to be the only mountain lion in the Griffith Park area, separated by a few miles of dense urban environment from the part of Silver Lake where a cougar was spotted Tuesday.
With no females in his territory, P-22 is out of options for a mate.
“He’s the Brad Pitt of the cougar world. He’s handsome, has aged well, but has struggles with his dating life,” said Beth Pratt, who heads the nonprofit National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign.
Despite P-22’s GPS collar and proximity to densely populated neighborhoods, researchers have a hard time keeping track of his movements.
The mountain lion seen Tuesday, notably, appears to be wearing a GPS collar in images shared by Silver Lake residents.