LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the world’s most famous cat – Hollywood’s own mountain lion P-22 – sadly took his last breath, after valiant efforts to rescue him from a host of debilitating health issues. After a decade of stardom roaming in the beautiful great “urban wilderness” of Griffith Park, beneath the world-renowned Hollywood Sign, in the heart of the City of Los Angeles, his passing was met with great sadness.
“This is a hard chapter to close,” said Friends of Griffith Park (FoGP) president Gerry Hans about the death of P-22, a mountain lion that achieved international fame because of his amazing 50-mile journey from the Santa Monica Mountains – crossing two major freeways – to settle in Griffith Park.
“It was FoGP that ‘discovered’ P-22 and introduced him to the world,” Hans added, describing a 2011-initiated FoGP-sponsored scientific study, the Griffith Park Connectivity Study, which explored connectivity in and out of Griffith Park and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. “For a year, we were capturing images of deer, coyote and bobcats. None of our scientists ever imagined getting an image of a mountain lion. But there he was. February 12, 2012, 9:15 p.m.” The photo proved that a mountain lion was living in Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, in the center of Los Angeles.
P-22 became known as the Cat of Hollywood especially after National Geographic photographer Steve Winter snapped an iconic image of the cat strolling underneath the Hollywood Sign. “People just fell in love with P-22, they were excited that such a wild creature could be living so close to us,” said Hans. “But that’s what P-22 offered. He came to represent the wilderness that still exists in Griffith Park and how wild animals can co-exist with human beings in an urban setting. He taught us that wildlife, even top predators, have their place in nature, even alongside the people of this large city. P-22 did that for more than 10 years.”
Embraced by people all over the world, P-22’s celebrity status allowed him to significantly impact the future of mountain lions and conservation efforts both in California and worldwide.
Hans continued: “Griffith Park gave P-22 everything a solitary cat needed: food, shelter and a place to roam, even though the 4,300 acres of the park is an incredibly small territory for a mountain lion.”
“And while Griffith Park is a little emptier without P-22, this urban wilderness continues to be home for many wild creatures including numerous endangered species of plants and animals,” said Hans. “We will likely never have another resident mountain lion in Griffith Park but there are other treasures here from the raptors that nest near the Griffith Observatory to the native plants that bloom in steep canyons and hillsides. All the places where you can imagine P-22 once roamed and reigned.”
P-22 was validation that Southern California has an amazing diversity of plant and animal life because of our abundance of landscapes from seashores to deserts, from alpine forests to wild open chaparrals.
Griffith Park is part of that distinct kaleidoscope of Los Angeles habitats and wildlife where each plant and animal – like P-22 – plays an important role.
For more information about P-22’s decade in Griffith Park and to support and donate to ongoing efforts to conserve Griffith Park: https://friendsofgriffithpark.org/p-22/
Friends of Griffith Park (FoGP) is a California non-profit 501(c) (3) dedicated to preserving and protecting Griffith Park’s natural habitat, biodiversity, and historic features, for current and future generations. FoGP is committed to ensuring that Griffith Park, a public park and Los Angeles’ largest Historic-Cultural Monument, remain open, natural, and free to all residents of Los Angeles.
Contact: Rachel Schwartz/PR AdvantEDGE Inc.
SOURCE Friends of Griffith Park