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P-22 Has Been Laid To Rest In The Santa Monica Mountains In A Private Ceremony

A mountain lion stands in the middle of a clearing, lit up by the flash of a remote camera.
P-22, captured on a remote camera in 2014.
(Courtesy National Park Service)
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P-22, Los Angeles' beloved mountain lion, was buried Saturday (March 4) at an undisclosed location in the Santa Monica mountains.

The National Wildlife Federation announced that the burial site will not be revealed to protect and preserve the location.

Indigenous partners and government agencies participated

Beth Pratt, the regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation, was closely involved in P-22's care. She said in a statement that the funeral ceremony was a collaboration between local Indigenous partners, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Natural History Museum and the National Park Service:

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I was honored to be invited to attend by our Indigenous partners and full of so much gratitude to them for their beautiful and moving ceremony that showed such reverence and respect for this remarkable animal ... I can also imagine P-22 at peace now, which such a powerful and caring send off to the next place. As we laid him to rest, a red-tailed hawk flew overhead and called loudly, perhaps there to help him on his journey.

Details of the private burial

The Natural History Museum provided more details in a tweet, noting that pallbearers helped escort his remains to the site "where Tribal representatives collectively oversaw this historically significant ceremony":

P-22's death

P-22 was euthanized on Dec. 17 after a rapid decline in his health. He'd been hit by a car, and after capturing him several days before his death, wildlife officials discovered that he was severely underweight and was suffering kidney failure, a hernia, head and eye trauma and more.

In the weeks leading up to his passing, P-22 was behaving erratically before finally being taken into custody in the back yard of a Los Feliz home.

The celebrity puma made Griffith Park his home for more than a decade ago, and underwent a harrowing journey to get there. After leaving the Santa Monica Mountains, he crossed the 101 and 405 freeways before continuing his travels east.

P-22 was tagged by National Park Service in 2012 as part of their study of local mountain lions. Thanks to his bravery and taste for adventure, he burrowed his way into the hearts of those who knew of him.

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"P-22 changed the world," said Pratt. "[H]e helped create a new modern ethic toward wildlife, one that values wildlife as fellow beings, worthy of our respect and compassion ... his legacy will continue in helping people build new relationships with wildlife, less about dominance, and more about us realizing we are inextricably linked to the same natural world."

The courageous cat was 12 years old when he died, unusually old for big cats living in the wild.

About wildlife crossing efforts

Wildlife fatalities on Southern California roads remain a chronic and troubling issue.

A massive crossing over the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills — known as the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing — is now under construction and many are looking to it as a model forward.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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