California Wildlife Officials Announce Euthanasia of Famed Mountain Lion

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The cat known as P-22 had become a worldwide celebrity

California’s famed mountain lion P-22, which has made headlines recently for killing a leashed chihuahua and attacking another dog, has been captured and euthanized.

According to  ABC 7, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers captured the lion for a health assessment, which revealed it had severe injuries and chronic health problems.

Wildlife experts say the cat was severely underweight and may have been struck by a vehicle.

"Based on these factors, compassionate euthanasia under general anesthesia was unanimously recommended by the medical team at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and CDFW officials made the decision to do so on Saturday, December 17," read a statement issued by CDFW.

The Safari Park's wildlife health team performed a physical exam, organ function tests, and an infectious disease screening. They also conducted (CT) scans of his skull, chest, and abdomen.

"The trauma to his internal organs would require invasive surgical repair," officials said.

P-22 was also diagnosed with pre-existing illnesses, including irreversible kidney disease, chronic weight loss, an extensive parasitic skin infection over his entire body, and localized arthritis.

"P-22's advanced age, combined with chronic, debilitating, life-shortening conditions and the clear need for extensive long-term veterinary intervention left P-22 with no hope for a positive outcome," officials said. "His poor condition indicated that he may also have had additional underlying conditions not yet fully characterized by diagnostics."

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Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on P-22's passing Saturday, calling him an inspiration.

"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," said Newsom, whose father was a founder of the Mountain Lion Foundation. "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 innovative 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."

Often called the "Hollywood Cat," P-22 was known for several notable exploits, such as crossing a pair of freeways and hiding out under a home, which resulted in a standoff and garnered much media attention. P-22 was even named a suspect in the killing of a koala at the Los Angeles Zoo.

P-22 was initially captured and outfitted with a tracking collar in 2012. At the time of his last capture, he weighed 123 pounds and was estimated to be about 12 years old.

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