A memorial service for a beloved Los Angeles area mountain lion who was dubbed the “King of Griffith Park” was remembered by thousands on Saturday, including celebrities and scientists.
Mountain lion P-22 outlived his life expectancy despite living on what is described as an “island” as the Hollywood hills he roamed have been encircled by highways and development.
His memorial on Saturday drew the likes of actor Rainn Wilson and musician Diplo. California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the memorial in a video. Local libraries streamed the memorial as the venue was filled to capacity.
Wildlife officials captured P-22 in December after he exhibited changing behaviors. Before his capture, he reportedly attacked a person. It is also believed that a car struck P-22.
After the California Department of Fish and Wildlife did a health assessment of P-22, veterinarians decided to euthanize the beloved animal.
“P-22 never fully got to be a mountain lion,” said Beth Pratt with the National Wildlife Federation. “His whole life, he suffered the consequences of trying to survive in unconnected space, right to the end when being hit by a car led to his tragic end. He showed people around the world that we need to ensure our roads, highways, and communities are better and safer when people and wildlife can freely travel to find food, shelter, and families.”
Pratt said P-22 helped inspire the building of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, which is under construction in Agoura Hills, California. It will be a vegetated overpass that will help isolated animals safely cross U.S. 101.
“We must now give back to P-22. We must recognize when the limits of this unconnected space have been reached, and take action to ensure the well-being of P-22 and the community he lives in,” Pratt said.