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Mountain Lion Suffering From Rat Poison Makes Dramatic Recovery

The mountain lion that made a large urban park in Los Angeles his home has apparently recovered from a bad case of mange brought on by ingesting poisoned animals.

Posted on December 4, 2014, at 10:20 p.m. ET

This is P-22, the majestic mountain lion that last year claimed a large Los Angeles park near the Hollywood sign as his own.

National Geographic

He was caught via a remote camera in Griffith Park. The images first appeared in National Geographic in December 2013.

That he had somehow managed to take up residence in a major park stunned city residents.

Primarily preying on mule deer, P-22 beat the odds just getting to the park, having to sprint across busy freeways that have claimed the lives of less lucky mountain lions before.

Then in March, experts discovered that P-22 had become very sick.

National Park Service / Via

Blood tests revealed the gaunt cat was afflicted with mange, a parasitic skin disease that causes skin lesions and deterioration of the coat. His blood tested positive for anti-coagulant rodenticide, commonly known as rat poison, which experts tied to his condition.

The mountain lion had likely become exposed by eating prey that had earlier ingested the poison, working its way up the food chain until reaching P-22, where it accumulates and can become lethal.

Biologists aided P-22 with a topical treatment for the potentially deadly mange, but they couldn't be sure whether he'd make it.

That is, until remote cameras recently caught up with P-22, and look!

AP Photo/National Park Service

The National Park Service on Thursday released new images of the mountain lion taken in November — and they appear to show that P-22 has, indeed, recovered. The remote camera was set up at the site of a freshly killed mule deer.

The mountain lion returned to feed over four nights.

AP Photo/National Park Service

Feed, P-22, feed. And be well.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.