P-22: The most famous Los Angeles Mountain Lion will have a service at the Greek Theater. Courtesy photo


The National Wildlife Federation will present a Celebration of Life at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park for P-22

The National Wildlife Federation will present a Celebration of Life at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park for P-22, perhaps the most famous mountain lion of all time.

P-22 was celebrated for taking up residence in the middle of Los Angeles and he became a symbol of urban pressures on wildlife. The cat was euthanized after dangerous changes in his behavior led to examinations that revealed worsening health and injuries likely caused by a car.

He became the face of the campaign to build a wildlife crossing over a Los Angeles-area freeway to give mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, deer and other animals a safe path between the nearby Santa Monica Mountains and wildlands to the north.

Tributes have poured in since his death.

Artist Corie Mattie erected a memorial on the side of a building showing the beloved big cat wearing a crown with the words “Long Live the King.” Earlier this year, she painted a separate mural devoted to P-22, where residents left flowers after the cougar died. Mattie’s other work includes a mural in Santa Monica at the corner of 6th and Colorado.

The cougar was regularly recorded on security cameras strolling through residential areas near his home in Griffith Park, an oasis of hiking trails and picnic areas in the middle of the city.

Long outfitted with a tracking collar, P-22 was captured for examination in a residential backyard Dec. 12, a month after killing a Chihuahua on a dogwalker’s leash.

Wildlife officials said the decision was made to euthanize after veterinarians determined P-22 had a skull fracture and chronic illnesses including a skin infection and diseases of the kidneys and liver.

Daniel Richards, a 55-year-old tour guide, said it was sad to learn of P-22’s passing and he hopes the mural will stay.

“He’s kind of a legend,” Richards said of the mountain lion. “It’s a really great mural and really memorializes something that was unique here in the city of Los Angeles.”

In a eulogy for P-22, Beth Pratt of the Federation said the animal changed how the city thought of wildlife.

“We will all be grappling with the loss of P-22 for some time, trying to make sense of a Los Angeles without this magnificent wild creature. I loved P-22 and hold a deep respect for his intrepid spirit, charm, and just plain chutzpah. We may never see another mountain lion stroll down Sunset Boulevard or surprise customers outside the Los Feliz Trader Joe’s. But perhaps that doesn’t matter—what matters is P-22 showed us it’s possible,” she said.

“He changed us. He changed the way we look at LA. And his influencer status extended around the world, as he inspired millions of people to see wildlife as their neighbors. He made us more human, made us connect more to that wild place in ourselves. We are part of nature and he reminded us of that. Even in the city that gave us Carmeggedon, where we thought wildness had been banished a long time ago, P-22 reminded us it’s still here.”

The event at the Greek will be held on Feb. 4. At 12 p.m. Doors open at 11 a.m. The event will be free but tickets will be required. Ticketing information will be released online at www.savelacougars.org.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...