Even if you’re not from Southern California, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of P-22, a mountain lion that resided in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, on the eastern side of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Somehow he crossed freeways to settle in the rugged, chaparral-cloaked slopes of one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. He remained there since then, hunting mule deer and other animals for food in the natural areas of the park.
P-22 was first identified in 2012 and was the subject of significant media attention, also as the subject of books, television programs, and works of art. He even had his own Facebook page, courtesy of savelacougars.org/
He wasn’t just a big cat. He was a symbol of resistance, resistance to the idea that LA has no wildlife, to development in his own backyard, to dwindling numbers of mountain lions in SoCal.
P22 had been living in Griffith Park for about ten years, but it’s as if he was actually trapped. He could never find a mate as no other mountain lion could reach the park without getting killed on the freeways.
What a confusing world he must’ve lived in with all these loud humans with their fast cars and concrete. For me, he served as a reminder (along with coyotes and bobcats) that we have always been the invaders. They were here first.
A mountain lion believed to be the famous P-22 allegedly attacked and injured a small dog in Silver Lake until he was scared off by the pet’s owner. After that, he was captured and sedated for medical testing to evaluate his condition.
So far, I haven’t found satisfactory answers to my questions about why he wasn’t previously relocated, moved to a sanctuary, or helped before he reached such a deplorable physical condition. It seems to me as if he was used as a test subject solely for the purpose that his movements and actions could be studied by humans.
Did anyone actually CARE about HIS quality of life?
However, when he was captured, according to the LA Times, the wildlife agencies said in a joint statement that they had “already been in contact with leading institutions for animal care and rehabilitation centers”.
Too little, too late.
In 2016 it was believed that he killed and ate a koala from the LA Zoo,
California mountain lions are a “specially protected species.” Killing a mountain lion without a depredation permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment in the county jail or a fine of up to $10,000.
P22 was the focus of research led by federal biologists trying to “better understand how mountain lions are surviving in increasingly urbanized and fragmented habitat,” said Kate Kuykendall, acting deputy superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. (Curated from https://www.baltimoresun.com/la-me-mountain-lion-to-remain-20160316-story.html)
Officials wept when announcing the decision and shared images of a severe herniation of his abdominal organs. Multiple organs were shutting down and he had a parasitic infection. The poor old guy was in pain and suffering. At that point, there was really no other compassionate solution. Sadly, I agree.
Is there no end to human cruelty, the tendency to exploit other living creatures? How disgusting.
Rest in peace and freedom, you beautiful creature.
You can pay to watch the video, P22: The Cat That Changed America here:https://www.earthtouchnews.com/video-on-demand/p22-the-cat-that-changed-america/
or view a short version on YouTube: