Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

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By the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

After receiving a comprehensive medical evaluation, CDFW has received a clear picture of the mountain lion P-22’s medical condition and overall health. He had several severe injuries and chronic health problems. 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, Dec. 17.

P-22 received a thorough diagnostic evaluation by the Safari Park’s wildlife health team, under general anesthesia. The extensive evaluation included a physical exam, organ function tests, infectious disease screening, ultrasonography and computed tomography (CT) scans of the skull, chest and abdomen.

The results of these tests and screenings showed significant trauma to the mountain lion’s head, right eye and internal organs, confirming the suspicion of recent injury, such as a vehicle strike. The trauma to his internal organs would require invasive surgical repair.

The examination also revealed significant pre-existing illnesses, including irreversible kidney disease, chronic weight loss, extensive parasitic skin infection over his entire body and localized arthritis, all of which have led to the unfortunate deterioration in P-22’s overall condition.

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. His poor condition indicated that he may also have had additional underlying conditions not yet fully characterized by diagnostics.

The Safari Park wildlife care team consists of six veterinarians with additional board certification in zoologic medicine. Additionally, four veterinary specialists (board certifications in ophthalmology, radiology and surgery) were consulted.

CDFW is not seeking information on a vehicle collision. This situation is not the fault of P-22, nor of a driver who may have hit him. Rather, it is an eventuality that arises from habitat loss and fragmentation, and it underscores the need for thoughtful construction of wildlife crossings and well-planned spaces that provide wild animals room to roam.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, CDFW announced their intent to capture the world-famous mountain lion and bring him in for a health evaluation. On Monday Dec. 12, P-22 was captured by CDFW and National Park Service and brought in for evaluation. On Dec. 13, CDFW issued a FAQ document about P-22 and held a media briefing to provide an update on his condition.

CDFW wishes to thank our many partners. This has been a difficult journey for all of us. None more so than the dedicated staff who have been caring for him over this week, the biologists who have studied his incredible life, and the many compassionate individuals who have been his neighbors and followed his travails.

Mountain lion P-22 has had an extraordinary life and captured the hearts of the people of Los Angeles and beyond. The most difficult, but compassionate choice was to respectfully minimize his suffering and stress by humanely ending his journey.

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biguglystick Dec 19, 2022 09:57 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

The passing of P-22 broke countless hearts. LA and Griffith Park will never be the same. I loved this cat. He gave so much to so many people! He is the reason that we all got together and raised enough money to get that wildlife crossing built on the 101. P-22 taught people to have less fear and to learn how to coexist with our wild neighbors. I will be grieving this loss for a long long time to come. We love you, P-22!

FondofSB Dec 18, 2022 09:49 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

I'm very amused by the 7 "downvotes" on my comment from earlier!
NONE of them had the courage, intelligence or fortitude to explain exactly WHAT they disagreed with what I said!
They "courageously" hid behind voting me down with NO explanation whatever about what they thought or tried to argue was "wrong" with what I said or why it was, according to them, "justify" to KILL (because that's what it was) a wild animal who was acting and living a perfectly decent life on the last video I saw of him!

biguglystick Dec 19, 2022 09:55 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

Dear FOND, please please do some digging and educate yourself on exactly what happened with P-22. I have been closely involved with this mountain lion for years, raising money to build the wildlife crossing, advocating for our wildlife and adoring this cat from afar. You can watch the ZOOM meeting where the vets and the CFWS director discuss the decision. They were all in tears. THIS was not your average mountain lion, this was the most iconic, the most important cougar that has perhaps ever lived in the U.S. He was in tremendous pain. Should we have let him suffer and die slowly? Because he WAS dying. Here is a link to the zoom meeting, I suggest you watch it all until the end. Also look up Beth Pratt and read her eulogy for this beloved lion.

Zenyatta19 Dec 19, 2022 08:26 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

FONDOFSB He was no longer acting or living a normal life. This cougar was beloved and had been living his life there for years. If they wanted to dispose of him it would have been done 9 years ago. He was gravely ill, in renal failure, had multiple traumatic injuries and was 40 pounds underweight. He could no longer hunt or live like he used to which caused him to recently act in dangerous ways. A team of veterinarians, fish & wildlife officials and wildlife biologists made the decision to let him go. This decision was made after many diagnostic tests including a CT scan. Some of those who made the decision had been watching out for him his whole life.

This wasn’t carelessly disposing of an animal. It was humane euthanasia to end suffering. A decision none of those involved took lightly.

FondofSB Dec 17, 2022 04:12 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

How about just letting nature take its course when it comes to wild life?
Was P22 complaining about anything ?
As sad as this whole story is it is a fact that: "P-22’s advanced age, combined with chronic, debilitating, life-shortening conditions" was "shortened" even more and much faster by euthanasia!
I find this embarrassing!
Who can HONESTLY testify and JUSTIFY how many more days, months or whatever could P22 have lived if "well meaning" humans didn't let him know that they thought "better" for him and had decided it was time for him "to go"?
I know quite a few humans who were told "by authorities" of their "early" demise and went on to carry on quite a few years!
When do we start treating Gran'Pa & Gran'Ma this way?

biguglystick Dec 19, 2022 09:51 PM
Mountain Lion P-22 Compassionately Euthanized Following Complete Health Evaluation Results

Dear FOND OF SB, I can. I can justify it for you. I am a volunteer with the Cougar Conservancy and I have been following P-22's life for years now. I have attended every P-22 Day in Griffith Park and worked the last three of them. I personally am friends with some of the people invloved in P-22's capture and unfortunate diagnosis. He would not have survived for very many more days after he was hit by a car. He had extensive and severe injuries from that car collision, including a skull fracture, a ruptured eye and a diaphram tear. His internal organs were pushed up into his chest cavity and he was in a great deal of pain. He had stage 2 renal failure and liver disease as well as heart disease. 12 years old is a very long life for a male cougar in the wild. Euthanasia, while it wasn't what ANY of us wanted, was a mercy. I have been crying for days over the loss of this iconic cat, but I DO know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that easing his pain and helping him to transition was the best thing for him. It is not what we wanted, but the car accident sealed his fate. It broke our hearts, and I will never forget P-22. Please understand that everyone involved loved and cared for this animal, this was not a decision or action taken lightly.

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