P-22 Mountain Lion Life Celebration Sells Out; Watch the live stream instead – Orange County Register

Celebrities, artists, singers, poets and wildlife biologists rehearsed speeches and performances this week to honor the late mountain lion known as P-22, the city’s beloved wildcat, in preparation for a celebration of the life event at the Greek Theater.

The internationally renowned mountain lion, nicknamed the “Hollywood Cat,” will be commemorated on Saturday, February 4 from 12pm to 2pm in the outdoor amphitheater at Griffith Park, a venue that usually hosts live concerts featuring rock stars, big-name bands and other acts is reserved.

All tickets for the free event have been distributed since last month. About 6,000 people will be present.

“It’s sold out. At capacity. There’s no more space,” said Nadia Gonzalez, spokeswoman for the event on Wednesday, February 1.

“I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened anywhere in the world,” Gonzalez said of the unusual event honoring a wild mountain lion. A printed list of the notable names present will be distributed at the memorial service.

Performers will be on stage — as will students who have learned from P-22 syllabuses and their teachers, and artists who have made murals of the cougar. Those who have “met” P-22s while traveling through their backyards or hiding in their crawl space will also be on the program.

“We want to highlight the next part of the story of how we can use this as an impetus to protect them[the Santa Monica Mountain cougars],” she explained.

If you weren’t lucky enough to secure tickets, the organizers, led by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and their #SaveLA Cougars campaign, will be livestreaming the event on the savelacougars.org website.

In addition, 11 stationary locations in the Los Angeles City Library system will broadcast the memorial service live. These are: the central library in downtown Los Angeles and these 10 branch libraries in the neighborhood: Cypress Park, Granada Hills, John Muir, Lakeview Terrace, Memorial, Pacoima, Palisades, Pio Pico-Koreatown, RL Stevenson, and Westwood.

To find library locations, visit lapl.org/p-22 and see Celebration of Life for Mountain Lion P-22. Watching the demonstration is free.

“It’s our chance to let people share this moment. It feels like a community activity that people would love to share,” Susan Broman, assistant city librarian, said Wednesday.

P-22 has lived in the rural hills of Griffith Park, LA, an 8 square mile “island” for the past 10 years. He is known for his incredible tenacity and sense of survival, having lived to age 12, a ripe age for a wild cougar.

In 2012, he left his mother at Topanga State Park and became the only big cat to safely cross two freeways — the 101 Freeway and the 405 Freeway — on a 20-mile hike to settle at his home in the city’s largest park settle down in the city.

The male cougar is the 22nd to be studied by the US National Park Service, hence the name P-22. The 20-year mountain lion study is ongoing, attempting to identify a segmented population of mountain lions living in the Santa Monica Mountains. The NPS team tracks approximately 12 lions in the area but has collared, tracked and named more than 100 in 20 years.


P-22 had contracted multiple illnesses after being hit by a car, injuring his head and eyes and damaging his internal organs. He was euthanized by wildlife authorities on December 17, 2022 after being captured in the backyard of a Los Feliz home on December 12. Vets said he would not recover from his injuries and it was a humane act to euthanize him.

After becoming the first mountain lion to live in and around Griffith Park, P-22 became a symbol of urban wildlife and raised awareness of the plight of his brothers and sisters at risk of extinction. He has appeared on magazine covers, in newspapers and TV news, and even had his own Twitter handle (@MountainLionP22; @GPMountainLion).

His fame inspired a city, the region, and later the world to address the plight of these wild cats living so close to civilization, and spurred a campaign to build a wildlife bridge over the under-construction 101 Freeway. Los Angeles and Mumbai are two big cities with wild cats.

“P-22 wasn’t just any mountain lion – he inspired people around the world when his plight, trapped by freeways in Griffith Park and destined to be LA’s loneliest bachelor – became a call to action. Because of its history, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing broke ground outside of Los Angeles last year,” wrote Beth Pratt, the NWF’s California regional director.

Pratt added that P-22, whose star power increased after appearing on the cover of National Geographic, played a less tangible but equally important role.

“P-22 also inspired something deeper for the people of Los Angeles and beyond, to reconsider our preconceptions about wildness and what was almost lost when we thought we needed to banish nature from our midst in our cities. What a legacy! Given how much he was loved, it is fitting that life’s first major public celebration for a mountain lion be held in his honor,” she wrote in an email reply.

These predators at the top of the food chain travel hundreds of miles to find food and a mate. But they are constrained by invading development and major freeways, including the 101 Freeway and the 5 Freeway. Crossbreeding is dangerous and often fatal, while those that remain are subject to inbreeding, which debilitates the population.

Some scientists call this the Extinction Vortex, which traps these magnificent beasts and prevents them from reproducing, and as they reproduce, a new mix of genetic material prevents them. P-81, found dead on the Pacific Coast Highway Jan. 27, became the 34th mountain lion to die of a roadside mortality since 2002, officials said.

More recently, these cougars die from rodenticide poisoning, which they ingest either directly or indirectly. So-called secondary and tertiary poisonings result from eating a raccoon, squirrel or coyote that has ingested rat poison. The chemicals travel up the food chain, causing immune deficiencies that can result in these big cats dying of common diseases like mange — a skin rash that can infect internal organs if left untreated.

Vehicle collisions are the number one killer of these cats, which scientific classification is Puma concolor. The mountain lions are listed as vulnerable by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/02/celebration-of-life-for-p-22-mountain-lion-sold-out-watch-livestream-instead/ P-22 Mountain Lion Life Celebration Sells Out; Watch the live stream instead – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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