Move over Kardashians, there’s a new cougar taking Los Angeles by storm. Meet P-22 the infamous Griffith Park mountain lion.
At age 7, P-22 is already one of the most notorious celebrities in southern California. Mountain lions only live eight to thirteen years in the wild, so this makes him middle aged. The confirmed bachelor is somewhat shy, and shuns the limelight to live a reclusive life slinking through the chaparral of Griffith Park. He would like to find a mate but his territory in unfortunately placed between several major highways that block the paths of female mountain lions. The region is one of LA’s most exclusive neighborhoods and rumor has it P-22 was once spotted in Cher’s backyard.
Despite his shyness the only mountain lion in Griffith Park causes a huge uproar where ever he goes. He wears a tracking collar that was given to him by the National Park Service (NPS), and it sends out signals two times per day so they can watch his movements. They also keep track of him via security cameras placed in wildlife corridors, but will not divulge this information to the public for P-22’s safety. In 2013 he was featured on the cover of National Geographic, and he appears regularly in the LA Times and local broadcast news.
P-22 has had a few run ins with the law. Last year he is suspected to have entered the Los Angeles Zoo and murdered Killarney the Koala, who had been living there since 2010. The feline’s supporters argued that he should be pardoned because he is a puma, and killing small, furry animals is what they do. The year before that P-22 was in a police standoff when he crawled under a home in Los Feliz and refused to come out until everyone left.
So who is P-22? He was born in the Santa Monica Mountains in 2009, son to P-1 and an unknown female that inhabits the same area. When male mountain lions mature into adulthood at around two years old they have to locate their own territory. Sometime before he was collared he somehow made it across the 405 highway without being hit by a car. After that he crossed walled estates, the canyon parks and the Mulholland Highway — at six feet long and 120 pounds he has a 15 foot vertical leap and can jump across distances of 40 feet — before finally settling in Griffith Park, where he subsists on an all meat diet of mule deer, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes.
The controversial cat is also a notoedric mange survivor, which he contacted in 2014 after eating meat tainted with rat poison. Luckily for him he was caught and treated by the NPS with a topical known as Revolution (selamectin) that was donated by Pfizer. The next year he was spotted on a trail camera looking healthy and happy.
P-22 now fights to bring awareness to the disease as the poster child for the #SaveLACougars campaign in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. Anticoagulant poisoning is one of the leading killers of wildlife, because they eat the dead rats and consume the poison with it. The wildcat recommends using alternative methods for pest control such as traps. Or he would if he had any concept of spoken word.
Despite his celebrity the future looks dim for P-22 if he is unable to find a mate and reproduce. You can help southern California’s mountain lion population by supporting Save LA Cougars’ Wildlife Crossings project. The goal is to build a natural bridge over the 101 freeway where it crosses the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Corridor. Since 2002 the NPS has recorded six mountain lions being struck and killed by fast moving cars and trucks, and three cubs starved to death after their parents died.
As for P-22 anything could be next, including a reality TV show, a star on Hollywood Boulevard or fine ass bitches petting him in the backyard of a Malibu beach house. The best part is he doesn’t know about money and accepts payments in dead goats. For now watch the comings and goings of P-22 on his Facebook and Instagram profiles.