The mountain lion known as P-22 was euthanized today because of several long-term health concerns and injuries that likely stemmed from being hit by a car.
Wildlife biologists described multiple chronic illnesses that may have contributed to the mountain lion’s recent uncharacteristic behavior.
At about 9 AM the big cat of Griffith Park was
Chuck Bonham, director of the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife said,
This really hurts, and I know that. It’s been an incredibly difficult several days. And for myself, I’ve felt the entire weight of the city of Los Angeles.”
According to the LA Times,
The big cat was captured Monday in a backyard in Los Feliz, sedated and taken in for medical evaluation. The night before his capture, an anonymous caller had reported a vehicle collision with a mountain lion a few blocks south of Griffith Park, and P-22’s radio collar placed him nearby.
Health exams revealed that P-22 weighed about 90 pounds, a loss of nearly one-fourth of his usual body weight. The big cat had a skull fracture, an injury to his right eye, herniated organs and a torn diaphragm, said Hendrik Nollens, vice president of wildlife health at the San Diego Zoo. Doctors also discovered P-22 had heart, kidney and liver disease, a thinning coat and a parasitic infection.
Officials quickly realized that the mountain lion was not healthy enough to be released back to Griffith Park.
But advocates, scientists and residents had hoped that the beloved animal was healthy enough to retire to a nature preserve.
Wildlife officials began considering euthanasia after tests revealed the extent of P-22’s health problems, said Bonham, who fought back tears.
He said he hoped that Friday was P-22’s “last best day,” as opposed to a drawn-out decline that led to
his last day being his worst day.”
Beth Pratt, a regional executive director in California for the National Wildlife Federation, who often called herself P-22’s agent, said,
It was a tough decision. It was the right decision. This animal did not deserve to suffer.”
P-22 was thought to be about 12 years old.
We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of P-22, L.A.’s beloved mountain lion. We were just informed that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the difficult decision to euthanize him due to the serious injuries he suffered earlier in the week. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/2ZX7HYR0J7— Natural History Museum of L.A. County (@NHMLA) December 17, 2022
(Photo, Steve Winter/National Geographic; via LA Times)