Mountain Lion Famously at Home in LA Euthanized

P-22 suffered from diseases and injuries, exam found
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2022 12:02 AM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2022 2:45 PM CST
Famed Hollywood Mountain Lion Captured After Showing 'Signs of Distress'
This photo provided by the US National Park Service shows a mountain lion known as P-22, photographed in November 2014 in the Griffith Park area near downtown Los Angeles.   (U.S. National Park Service, via AP, File)
UPDATE Dec 17, 2022 2:45 PM CST

P-22, the celebrated mountain lion that took up residence in the middle of Los Angeles and became a symbol of urban pressures on wildlife, was euthanized Saturday. California Fish and Wildlife officials said exams found kidney and liver disease and injuries, including a fractured skull, that probably were caused by a car. The exams were prompted by dangerous changes in behavior, the AP reports. "His prognosis was deemed poor," said agency Director Chuck Bonham, who fought back tears during a news conference. "This really hurts."

Dec 13, 2022 12:02 AM CST

Los Angeles' most famous mountain lion, known for roaming across freeways and making a sprawling urban park his home, was captured Monday by wildlife officials who want to examine the big cat after he killed a dog that was being walked in the Hollywood Hills, the AP reports. The cougar, dubbed P-22, wears a GPS tracking collar as part of a National Park Service study and is regularly recorded on security cameras strolling through residential areas near LA's Griffith Park, a wilderness and picnic area. P-22 was in stable condition after being hit with a tranquilizer dart in the trendy Los Feliz neighborhood near the park, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in an announcement with the National Park Service.

Los Feliz resident Sarah Picchi told the Los Angeles Times that P-22 was tranquilized in her backyard shortly before 11am. Picchi said Fish and Wildlife officers rang at her front gate and said: “'You have a lion in your backyard.'" An anonymous report Sunday night indicated that P-22 may have been struck by a vehicle, wildlife officials said. After being examined, authorities will “determine the best next steps for the animal while also prioritizing the safety of surrounding communities,” the joint statement said. “P-22 is a remarkably old cat in the wild and, after being deemed responsible for killing a leashed pet last month, may be exhibiting signs of distress,” the agencies said in a Dec. 8 statement announcing that the famous cougar would be captured. They didn’t indicate what might happen to the cougar.

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P-22 is believed to be about 12 years old, making him the oldest Southern California cougar currently being studied. Most mountain lions live about a decade. “This is an unprecedented situation in which a mountain lion has continued to survive in such an urban setting. As P-22 has aged, however, the challenges associated with living on an island of habitat seem to be increasing and scientists are noting a recent change in his behavior,” the state wildlife department said last week. P-22 usually hunts deer and coyotes, but in November the National Park Service confirmed that the cougar attacked and killed a Chihuahua mix that was being walked in the narrow streets of the Hollywood Hills. The cougar also is suspected of attacking another Chihuahua in the Silver Lake neighborhood this month.

(More mountain lion stories.)

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