The Mountain Lion Foundation is monitoring the decision by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Park Service (NPS) to capture the mountain lion known as P-22 for a medical evaluation.
P-22’s story is an inspiration to Los Angelenos and the mountain lion conservation community. His ability to cross highways, make a home in Griffith Park, and be a safe neighbor to the humans living nearby has shown the remarkable capacity of America’s lion to thrive even in the midst of Los Angeles. His journey inspired funding for a critical new wildlife crossing in Los Angeles, and brought attention to the critical importance of road crossings elsewhere in the state. P-22 has lived far longer than most wild mountain lions do, which is a further testament to his resilience, and the good relations he has with neighboring human communities.
Recently, P-22’s behavior has changed, bringing him into unusually-close contact with people, and the decision to conduct a medical assessment is prudent and warranted. NPS and CDFW have some of the best mountain lion biologists in the world, and we are confident their evaluation will be thorough and they will make every effort to return P-22 to the wild if possible. After the long and storied life P-22 has lived, and given his central place in the hearts of the Griffith Park neighborhood and broader Los Angeles, we believe P-22 deserves to live out his natural life in the wild.
We understand that biologists may determine that P-22 cannot be safely returned to the wild. We are optimistic that that decision will only be driven by medical necessity, and not serve as a form of conflict resolution. P-22 is a member of a population of mountain lions under consideration for listing as endangered or threatened under state law, and has not met the state’s criteria for lethal removal or relocation under current management rules. If medical necessity makes return to the wild impossible, there are a number of wildlife sanctuaries in California which have the capability to care for P-22, and where the public can be assured of the beloved puma’s wellbeing and chances to continue observing him living the life all mountain lions deserve.
We will continue working with our partner agencies and other conservation nonprofits to ensure the wellbeing of P-22, and that all mountain lions can thrive and coexist with humans in California and throughout their range.