P-22, the famous 12-year-old mountain lion known for having successfully crossed both the 101 and 405 freeways, was captured last week and euthanized.
In recent weeks, the mountain lion had been displaying behavior outside of his usual demeanor, attacking small dogs and exhibiting signs of deteriorating health.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) had previously announced upon capture that P-22 would most likely not be returned to the wild due to age and failing health. Tests that were done on P-22 determined he had an advanced skull fracture and “herniation of abdominal organs into his chest,” most likely from being hit by a vehicle. The mountain lion was also diagnosed with stage two kidney failure, advanced liver disease, heart disease and beginning stages of heart failure. Along with a parasitic infection and loss of approximately 20% of his body weight, the CDFW decided the humane option would be to euthanize P-22.
Dubbed the “Brad Pitt” of mountain lions, P-22 became quite the celebrity cat, and unofficial mascot of Los Angeles, after the release of the infamous picture showing him walking in Griffith Park with the Hollywood sign shining brightly behind him. Countless murals, social media pages and the occasional tattoo have been crafted to not only honor the cat, but to bring attention to nature conservation amidst city dwelling.
“P-22’s survival on an island of wilderness in the heart of Los Angeles captivated people around the world and revitalized efforts to protect our diverse native species and ecosystems,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement after P-22’s death. “The iconic mountain lion’s incredible journey helped inspire a new era of conserving and reconnecting nature.”
A sunset hike through Griffith Park was undertaken last Sunday in memoriam of P-22 and there is a current online petition to award P-22 a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.