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Famous L.A. mountain lion P-22 euthanized after apparent ‘vehicle strike’

Celebrity mountain lion P-22, who made his home in a Los Angeles park about a decade ago, has been euthanized after likely being struck by a vehicle, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirms. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Celebrity mountain lion P-22, who made his home in a Los Angeles park about a decade ago, has been euthanized after likely being struck by a vehicle, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirms. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Dec. 18 (UPI) — Celebrity mountain lion P-22, who made his home in a Los Angeles park about a decade ago, has been euthanized after likely being struck by a vehicle, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed.

The decision was made to euthanize P-22 on Saturday after a full medical evaluation revealed multiple severe injuries.

“Mountain lion P-22 has had an extraordinary life and captured the hearts of the people of Los Angeles and beyond,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a press release.

“The most difficult, but compassionate choice was to respectfully minimize his suffering and stress by humanely ending his journey.”

The mountain lion was of “advanced age” and had chronic health problems, including kidney disease, chronic weight loss, a parasitic skin infection throughout his body and localized arthritis. The injuries which officials determined were likely from a “vehicle strike” included significant trauma to his head, right eye and internal organs.

CDFW said it is not seeking information about the possible collision with P-22.

“This situation is not the fault of P-22, nor of a driver who may have hit him. Rather, it is an eventuality that arises from habitat loss and fragmentation, and it underscores the need for thoughtful construction of wildlife crossings and well-planned spaces that provide wild animals room to roam.”

P-22 was likely struck by a vehicle last Sunday, a day before being captured and examined, according to CDFW Director Chuck Bonham. It is believed the incident took place near Griffith Park where the mountain lion made its home.

Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke to the impact P-22 made on Los Angeles and the state of California.

“P-22’s survival on an island of wilderness in the heart of Los Angeles captivated people around the world and revitalized efforts to protect our diverse native species and ecosystems,” said Newsom in a press release. “The iconic mountain lion’s incredible journey helped inspire a new era of conserving and reconnecting nature, including through the world’s largest wildlife overpass in Liberty Canyon.”

The “Hollywood Cat” was believed to be 12 years old. He became an unofficial mascot for wildlife conservation, particularly a campaign to protect urban wildlife by incorporating animal crossings in the city. Earlier this year, Los Angeles broke ground on a crossing over U.S. Highway 101 which P-22 frequently crossed.

In 2012, P-22’s rise to fame began after being caught on a motion-activated camera roaming Griffith Park.

“I’m really sorry for the pain, but I hope people find hope as they move through the pain … Let’s make a difference so the rest of the large animals have a future out there that’s brighter,” Bonham said, reported by KTLA in Los Angeles.

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