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‘Hollywood Cat’ P-22’s celebration of life packs Greek Theater

 

For three hours Saturday, P-22 was alive again.

He lived in the memories, Ring photos, artwork and news-media accounts off the “Hollywood Cat,” who for a decade prowled Los Angeles’ Griffith Park before passing away on Dec.17.

The connections to the famous puma were made at a Celebration of Life memorial at a sold-out Greek Theatre.

The audience laughed at antics shown on videos of the big cat visiting homes in Silver Lake and Los Feliz. They sang to The Tokens performing “ The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and listened to school kids describe how they were inspired by the great urban feline.

Free tickets to the one-of-a-kind memorial became available in early January but were snagged almost immediately. The memorial was livecast for those who missed out on the passes.

This Nov. 2014 file photo provided by the National Park Service shows the Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22.He died on Dec. 17, 2022. (National Park Service, via AP, File)
This Nov. 2014 file photo provided by the National Park Service shows the Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22.He died on Dec. 17, 2022. (National Park Service, via AP, File)

The big cat’s fans include Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who called Friday for the creation of a postage stamp to honor P-22.

“P-22 was many things: our favorite celebrity neighbor, the occasional troublemaker, and a beloved mascot for our city,” Schiff, Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, and Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who joined Schiff in writing a letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.

“His exploits were followed not just by ordinary community members, but he had a devoted following online, and his comings and goings were even tracked by the local news. But most of all, he was a magnificent and wild creature, who reminded us all that we are part of a natural world so much greater than ourselves. Even in Los Angeles.”

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The crowd stands up to sing along with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at the Greek Theater’s celebration of life for P-22 on Saturday. Photo: Steve Scauzillo, SCNG

The lion was euthanized Dec. 17 after being examined by wildlife officials who captured the cat following recent signs of distress, including a series of attacks on pet dogs in the area.

The lion, one of many Southern California-area cats being tracked by National Park Service researchers, gained fame locally for his persistence and durability, successfully managing to cross both the 405 and 101 freeways to reach his recent roaming grounds in the Griffith Park area.

P-22 became the face of the NPS’s program to track local lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. His exploits were documented in various media accounts, including his daring freeway crossings, hiding out under a Los Feliz home in a standoff that drew widespread attention and even being named a suspect in the killing of a koala at the Los Angeles Zoo.

He was believed to be about 11 or 12 years old, making him the oldest cat in the NPS’ study of Southland lions. He is believed to have been born in the Santa Monica Mountains, somehow finding his way to his tiny, nine-square-mile home in Griffith Park, separated from his birth area by two of the busiest freeways in the world.

Defying expectations, he persisted for more than 10 years in the smallest home range that has ever been recorded for an adult male mountain lion.

He was initially captured and outfitted with a tracking collar in 2012. At the time of his last capture, he weighed 123 pounds.

After he was captured last month, wildlife experts said P-22 had facial injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle.

Experts ultimately made the decision to humanely euthanize the animal at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where he was being treated, to spare him further suffering.

“P-22’s advanced age, combined with chronic, debilitating, life-shortening conditions and the clear need for extensive long-term veterinary intervention left P-22 with no hope for a positive outcome,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This is a breaking story; watch for updates


Source: Orange County Register

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