Celebrity Mountain Lion P-22 Euthanized

Celebrity Mountain Lion P-22 Euthanized

December 17, 2022

The mountain lion known as P-22, who lived in highly urban Griffith Park for more than a decade, was “compassionately euthanized” Saturday morning, according to the California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife’s director, because of the serious injuries he suffered earlier this week.

P-22 was thought to be about 12 years old.

The National Park Service and the state’s wildlife department captured the mountain lion this week. The lion had begun roaming further outside his Griffith Park domain into densely populated residential areas. He recently attacked and killed a chihuahua and attacked another small dog. He was captured in the backyard of a Los Feliz home near several schools, including John Marshall High School.

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Experts said the cat was exhibiting what was termed “signs of distress” in the last month, and apparently was hit by a car and suffered an eye injury. Upon examination after his capture, he was said to be extremely underweight and suffering from mange.

The mountain lion was not healthy enough to be released back to Griffith Park, state wildlife officials said. There had been hopes of a retirement to a nature preserve.

P-22 was first spotted in Griffith Park 2013. The park is in the middle of urban Los Angeles, but its mountains were home to P-22, who could feast on mule deer. He was believed to have been born in the Santa Monica mountains, and had to cross two highly trafficked highways to get to Griffith Park. Once there, though, he was stuck, and his mating calls went unanswered.

While P-22 was considered a wild animal, his celebrity status was unquestioned, and neighbors of the area reported his frequent sightings in populated neighborhoods with something akin to glee. A National Geographic photo spread, led to a 2017 documentary, The Cat That Changed America, a museum exhibit, a children’s coloring book, and a mural in Watts, an area even further south in Los Angeles.

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