P-22, the Los Angeles mountain lion, was euthanized after officials realized the animal had extensive injuries and numerous health problems. On Monday, P-22 was captured by officials from both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service. The animal was brought in for evaluation. According to the CDFW, a series of injuries and health issues were found when the feline underwent a comprehensive medical evaluation, ABC News reports.
Some of the injuries were likely caused by a car crash or some other type of accident, according to the agencies. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is not requesting information about the car accident that caused the injuries. “[The vehicle collision is] an eventuality that arises from habitat loss and fragmentation,” the CDFW stated. “It underscores the need for thoughtful construction of wildlife crossings and well-planned spaces that provide wild animals room to roam.”
The mountain lion had “significant trauma to the mountain lion’s head, right eye, and internal organs, confirming the suspicion of a recent injury, such as a vehicle strike,” the CDFW reported. According to the CDFW, the animal’s internal organs were so damaged that he required invasive surgery. The tests also showed that he was suffering from other illnesses including irreversible kidney disease, chronic weight loss, and an extensive parasitic skin infection over his entire body. He also had severe arthritis in some of his joints.
The famous mountain lion was the subject of a documentary
“Based on these factors, compassionate euthanasia under general anesthesia was unanimously recommended by the medical team at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and CDFW officials made the decision to do so on Saturday, Dec. 17,” they explained. The cat’s chronic and debilitating conditions, as well as his age, “left P-22 with no hope for a positive outcome,” according to the CDFW.
P-22 was believed by many to be born in the Santa Monica mountains. He crossed not one, but two highways just to get over to Griffith Park. Unfortunately, he then became stuck with no option to mate. The mountain lion has been a popular topic of conversation for residents of Griffith Park since 2013. He got coverage in National Geographic in November of that year with the article “A Cougar Ready for His Closeup.” In 2017, a documentary was made about P-22 called The Cat That Changed America.
P-22 was thought to be 12 years old
Beth Pratt, a spokesperson for the National Wildlife Federation, released a statement about P-22’s death. “I sat near him, looking into his eyes for a few minutes, and told him he was a good boy. I told him how much I loved him. How much the world loved him. And I told him I was so sorry that we did not make the world a safer place for him. I apologized that despite all I and others who cared for him did, we failed him,” Pratt said. “I don’t have any illusion that my presence or words comforted him. And I left with a great sadness I will carry for the rest of my days.”
“Mountain lion P-22 has had an extraordinary life. [He] captured the hearts of the people of Los Angeles and beyond,” CDFW said. “The most difficult, but compassionate choice was to respectfully minimize his suffering and stress by humanely ending his journey.” P-22 was thought to be 12 years old.