SAN DIEGO — The famous mountain lion P-22, also known as the "Hollywood Cat, " was "compassionately" euthanized five days after being captured in a Los Angeles neighborhood backyard.
On Monday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found P-22 in a Los Feliz backyard and sedated the lion. When found, CDFW said that the lion appeared to be severely underweight and injured.
The lion was triaged at the Los Angeles Zoo and then taken to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance for the care of “traumatic injuries from that presumed vehicle accident,” according to Deana Clifford of the CDFW.
P-22 received a thorough diagnostic evaluation by Safari Park’s wildlife health team under general anesthesia. The extensive evaluation included a physical exam, organ function tests, infectious disease screening, ultrasonography, and computed tomography (CT) scans of the skull, chest, and abdomen.
After receiving a comprehensive medical evaluation of P-22’s medical condition and overall health, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife discovered he had several severe injuries and chronic health problems.
Doctors described several illnesses, including fractures to his skull, injuries to his right eye, skin injuries, herniation of abdominal organs, a torn diaphragm, and a parasitic infection.
"Based on these factors, compassionate euthanasia under general anesthesia was unanimously recommended by the medical team at San Diego Zoo Safari Park," said CDFW officials.
"This really hurts," CDFW Director Chuck Bonham said Saturday morning, fighting back the tears. "It's been an incredibly difficult several days, and for myself, I felt the entire weight of the city of Los Angeles on my shoulders."
Bonham said P22 had several severe injuries and chronic health problems.
After consultation with several veterinary experts, the decision was made to humanely euthanize the animal at the San Diego facility where he was being treated to spare him further suffering.
P-22 was thought to be about 12 years old.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose father was a founder of the Mountain Lion Foundation and championed protections for the species, said P-22's survival "on an island of wilderness in the heart of Los Angeles captivated people around the world and revitalized efforts to protect our diverse native species and ecosystems. The iconic mountain lion's incredible journey helped inspire a new era of conserving and reconnecting nature, including through the world's largest wildlife overpass in Liberty Canyon. With creative coalitions and strategies to restore vital habitat across the state, we'll continue working to protect California's precious natural heritage for generations to come."
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