P22 was euthanised on Saturday morning December 17th 2022. What followed was an outpouring of grief from the LA community and around the world. There are a few animals in the world which have touched the lives of so many people in the way that P22 did; Koko the Gorilla; Wojtek the bear are a few. Yet P22 was a truly unique and wild animal who beat humans at their own game by living right alongside them, in the very heart of Los Angeles.
P22 was born about 12 years ago in the Santa Monica Mountains but had to leave in search of his own territory as male mountain lions do. He made an incredible journey crossing two freeways, the 405 and the 101, in search of a new home.
He settled in Griffith Park in the middle of Los Angeles, where he became a celebrity after being discovered by Miguel Ordenana on one of his camera traps. Since then he has become an essential part of Hollywood Hills life, famous as Brad Pitt, adored by the cameras with legions of fans around the world.
Ironically, after dodging so much traffic, it was a car which contributed to his demise. When P22 was captured earlier this week, he was very undernourished and had an eye injury suggesting that he had been hit by a car.
P22 did not die in vain. He was an ambassador for urban wildlife and reminded us of the importance of connectivity and sharing our space with wildlife. A wildlife crossing is being built over the 101 freeway near the place where he was born to connect the animals in the Santa Monica Mountains with the other side of the freeway.
You can read his incredible true story in “The Cat That Changed America” which is a fictional retelling of his true story; being born in the Santa Monica Mountains, and then being forced to find his own territory and crossing two freeways and encountering life in a new city. His fate echoes that of so many Angelenos who have made LA their home.
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