The end of an era.
We all knew it would come, and if I am being completely honest, I suspected what the outcome would be from the moment plans were announced they were to capture P-22. Once driven by instinct to seek out a new home he had managed to defy the odds. While it was not ideal to be isolated in Griffith Park, his long term residency and struggles captured the hearts and minds of people from LA and all over the globe. His presence would later prove to be instrumental in helping to usher in monumental changes for his species in LA.
Rumours swirled, in what resembled typical Hollywood celebrity gossip, about his condition and what would happen to him or if he would he euthanized. His passionate fans wanted answers about what would become of their beloved mountain lion.
Some of those rumours did however prove to be true. Tragically he had been hit by a vehicle and his overall health was confirmed to be in steep decline. He had lived to be 12, an impressive age for a mountain lion, but nature and his circumstances caught up. I cried for P-22, and for the empty space he would leave in the hearts of fans and all who had worked to protect him.
LA and the world collectively fell for P-22 and when we did, we should have also been preparing ourselves to one day let him go. The inevitable end for a wild animal is not usually kind and humans rarely if ever are witness to the process. We forget that nature almost always takes it course in private far removed from society. In the case of P-22, a wild mountain lion, we had a front row seat to his life and death. For me this has been a great privilege and I hope that others will see it the same.
The time had come for P-22 to make his final crossing, and we knew that the people closest to him would do their best to ensure it was as peaceful and pain free as possible, and they did not disappoint. P-22 left this world for the next surrounded by those who truly respected him, and that is something we should all be thankful for.
Much has been written about P-22’s back story so I won’t reiterate that here, you can find more about him in the archives of my blog if you are so inclined, or head over to his Facebook page to find the numerous tributes and planned celebrations that they have in store.
P-22 was a mountain lion that lived wild and free as best as he could under the circumstances presented to him. Along the way he became the most famous mountain lion in the world and spokes cat for his species and their plight.
He was born at the right time and happened to pick the right place to live, surrounded by the right people. Some will say it was chance, but I think it was more. He was a gift, one that would ultimately help humans see the consequences of our actions and inactions. He reminded us that we cannot ignore the needs of our wild companions with whom we share this earth. When you think about his story it is truly amazing, and it could have only happened in LA.
We will very likely never see another mountain lion like P-22 again and perhaps Griffith Park will feel his absence along with the rest of us. History has been written, and like P-22 it should not be forgotten.
His ultimate legacy will be the finished wildlife crossing that he helped to inspire. A permanent and final celebration of his life and the life of other mountain lions, that will soon have the chance we wish P-22 had been given.
*If you are in the LA area on February 4, 2023 there will be a Celebration of Life to honour P-22 at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. Details can be found here.