P-22 Day: Griffith Park to host 8th annual festival honoring beloved mountain lion Sunday


GRIFFITH PARK, LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Wildlife supporters will gather in Griffith Park Sunday for the eighth annual P-22 Day Festival, honoring the famed mountain lion who crossed two freeways to make his home in Griffith Park before passing away in December 2022.

The event is free and open to everyone, and will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the park’s Shane’s Inspiration playground. It will include live music, food trucks, live painting by muralists and native-plant giveaways.

The P-22 Day Festival is organized by the National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign, and is part of a series of events celebrating Urban Wildlife Week.

P-22, known as the “Hollywood Cat,” was euthanized Dec. 17 after being examined by wildlife officials who captured him following signs of distress, including a series of attacks on pet dogs in the area.

Believed to be about 11 or 12 years old, he was one of the oldest lions in a continuing NPS study of lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. He was first captured and collared in March 2012, when he was estimated to be 2 years old.

His exploits were frequently documented over the years as he was captured on home security cameras while moving through the area. He was most famed for successfully crossing both the 405 and 101 freeways, making his home in the Griffith Park area.

Likely born in the Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 somehow found his way to his tiny, nine-square-mile home in Griffith Park, separated from his birth area by two of the busiest freeways in the world.

Defying expectations, he persisted for more than 10 years in the smallest home range that has ever been recorded for an adult male mountain lion.

P-22 became the face of the NPS lion-tracking study, and was held up as an example of a cat surviving the treacherous conditions facing the big cats living in the geographically confined spaces of the Santa Monica Mountains. With the population mostly isolated, a recent study found that the lions could potentially become extinct within 50 years without the introduction of new animals to limit inbreeding.

The Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the 101 Freeway is under construction in the Agoura Hills area, and is seen as a “major and critical step” in enabling the big cats and other wildlife to expand their territories — and do so safely, without having to cross major roads.

The landscaped crossing will span 10 lanes of the 101 Freeway in Liberty Canyon when completed in 2025, and aims to provide a connection between the small population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains and the larger and genetically diverse populations to the north.

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