P-22 the famous mountain lion of the Santa Monica Mountains was terminally ill when captured and then euthanized. The results of the P-22 necropsy showed the powerful cat was nearly at the end of his rope when recaptured news reports say.
The cat had lived in the Santa Monica Mountains for about a dozen years, a long time for a cat to survive. He had survived two freeway crossings, also a near miracle. But by December, 2022 he was showing serious signs of difficulty.
He was part of a landmark National Park Service (NPS) study of mountain lions in urban areas. He was studied by the NPS the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. At the end of life he was given veterinary care by several animal hospitals. NPS detailed the necropsy in a statement. NPS has collared and tagged more than 100 mountain lions in the nearly 20 year study.
By December 2022 the closely watched cat was spending too much time around humans and may have attacked a person. He definitely attacked pet dogs. He was tracked and recaptured and after medical evaluation he was euthanized December 17. The P-22 necropsy results have now been released after review and study by various agencies.
He was suffering from incurable kidney disease, the P-22 necropsy showed. He also had arthritis and a severe parasitic parasitic skin infection. P-22 also had ringworm. He was found to have traces of rat poison, but at sub clinical levels. This was likely from eating poisoned animals. At the time of his capture he was thought to have been hit by a car. Injuries, including fractures “consistent” with a car strike were found. He was also underweight. Researchers also found older trama that he recovered from. Some past trauma had herniated his diaphragm allowing his liver to enter his chest cavity.
His longevity and the studies by researchers and fans gave him celebrity status. The cougar became an unwitting driving force in efforts to create more livable space for cougars and humans to coexist. He was no small part the reason the freeway overcrossing above the 101 Freeway is being built. He is also at the front of mind as CalTrans builds other wildlife friendly projects. Wildlife corridors are increasingly important to preserving wildlife all over the world. Many projects now seek to provide gateways for wildlife around freeways and other human travel arteries.