Hollywood lost one of its most beloved celebrities this Saturday. A cougar who knows nothing P-22’s catchy name He was euthanized this morning, days after being captured in the backyard of a private residence in the Los Feliz neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a sad end for a cat who has lived with the wild urban density of a California city for more than a decade.
“It really hurts,” State Department official Chuck Bonham said this morning, breaking the news. The press conference was full of vets and experts who announced P-22’s decision with wet eyes. The 12-year-old cat, the most famous of the hundred specimens in Southern California, “went to sleep” at the San Diego Zoo this Saturday at 09:00. The decision to euthanize him was made following several health issues including a fractured skull, damage to various organs and a ruptured diaphragm.
Officials believe the cougar’s problems have worsened in the city’s most important green lungs, Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park, one of the areas where it recently roamed. The Wildlife Conservation Department received an anonymous call about the incident a few days ago. Doctors at the San Diego Zoo diagnosed P-22 with liver and kidney problems.
The cougar was captured Monday in a family’s backyard. Experts determined that he had lost a quarter of his body weight, reflecting his increasing health problems. However, the P-22 has become the subject of authorities’ interest in recent weeks. After years of peaceful coexistence, his behavior began to become erratic. In early November, he killed Piper, a chihuahua he was walking along a dog walker. Earlier he attacked another canine in the Hollywood Hills area. The local government later issued a statement saying that an attack on a human was unlikely. But, in one case, experts accelerated the pace of their search.
Like Snowflake in Barcelona, Sandra the orangutan in Buenos Aires or the Tohui Panda in Mexico City, the P-22 has managed to combine its wild aspects with an urban identity. Unlike the mentioned animals, the puma lived freely, moving in an area of two hectares. He showed scientists that he was able to navigate two of the busiest routes in the city, the 405 and 101 freeways.
P-22’s origins are a mystery, though his street antics have always been followed by Angelenos. The animal was discovered in February 2012 by Miguel Ardenana, a 29-year-old biologist who worked for the Forest Service. One morning, while downloading images captured by motion-activated cameras, the scientist discovered a young puma weighing about 54 kg. Rather than a name, they gave the number 22, the number of cats they’ve studied since 2002.
In the pictures, P-22 is unmistakably wearing a necklace around his neck. It was established by a group of scientists after Ordinana’s discovery. More than a fashion accessory, it’s an artifact that has allowed wildlife experts to track lion tracks through some of California’s most densely populated areas, such as Silver Lake.
The necklace allowed us to understand a bit about the life of the puma, who ate raccoons and deer in the vast green areas of the park before adding dogs to his diet. The National Museum of History in Los Angeles is hosting an exhibit on the wildlife of these animals, which draws a lot of information from GPS tracking done on the animal.
“If you see a P-22, walk slowly in the opposite direction and keep your distance. Go back to your house or your car. Never run or duck because he will think of you as prey. Don’t stare at him,” Ordenana explained to a journalist last March. “He’s proven time and time again that he’s not interested in people,” the biologist replied.
Local media would publish images of their star appearances on video surveillance devices in private residences. But the best images of the animal, like the one accompanying this text, were captured by cameras placed in Griffith Park by Odinana and other biologists. These were captured, in 2019 and for the first time, puma will make sounds. One of his most famous photographs, which would be the envy of any influencer, shows him strutting down the night with the sleek poise of big cats and the Hollywood sign behind him. It’s a legendary film about one of Star City’s most famous figures.
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