Los Angeles’ famous mountain lion P-22 is buried in the Santa Monica Mountains

After making his home in urban Griffith Park – home of the Hollywood Sign – for the past decade, P-22 has become a symbol of California’s endangered mountain lions and their decline in genetic diversity. The mountain lion’s name comes from the 22nd puma in a study by the National Park Service.

The death of the cougar late last year A debate began between Los Angeles area tribes and wildlife officials whether scientists can save samples of mountain lion carcasses for future testing and research.

Some representatives of the Chumash, Tataviam and Gabrielino (Tongva) argued that the samples taken during the necropsy should be buried with the rest of his body in the heritage land where he spent his life. Some tribal elders said to watch out the specimens for scientific testing may disrespect their traditions. Mountain lions are considered relatives and considered teachers in LA tribal communities.

Tribal representatives, wildlife officials and others discussed a potential compromise in recent weeks, but a consensus was not reached before P-22 was buried in an unspecified location in the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday.

“While we are doing everything we can to preserve the carcass, the Tribes and agencies involved are still working to come to a conclusion about some of the samples,” the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement on Monday. “What is important to understand is that the Tribes and agencies involved all agreed to proceed with the burial and it is a moving ceremony. We have come to a better place of understanding and we look forward to continued growth from this area. “

It is not clear whether unspecified samples may also be buried with the animal in the future or if the tribes have agreed to allow scientists to keep some specimens for further testing.

The tribe’s traditional funeral Saturday includes songs, prayers and sage smoke cleansing, according to Alan Salazar, a tribal member of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and a descendant of the Chumash tribe.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where the cougar remains were kept in a freezer prior to burial, called the burial a “historically significant ceremony.”

“P-22’s death affected us all and he will forever be a revered icon and ambassador for wildlife conservation,” the museum said in a statement Monday.

Salazar, who attended the ceremony, said he believes P-22’s legacy will help wildlife officials and scientists realize the importance of respecting animals going forward.

Beth Pratt, the California executive director for the National Wildlife Federation who also attended the ceremony, wrote on Facebook that the burial “helped me achieve some measure of peace” as he mourned the animal’s death.

“I can also imagine the P-22 at peace today, with a strong and careful delivery to the next area,” he wrote. “As we were putting him down, a red-tailed hawk flew overhead and called loudly, probably there to help him on his journey.”

Los Angeles and Mumbai are the only major cities in the world where big cats have been a constant presence for years — mountain lions in one, leopards in the other — even as pumas began to roam the streets of Santiago, Chile, during the pandemic lockdown.

Wildlife officials believe P-22 was born about 12 years ago in the western Santa Monica Mountains but left because of his father’s aggression and his own struggle to find a mate among the dwindling population. That prompted the cougar to cross two heavily traveled freeways and migrate east into Griffith Park, where a wildlife biologist captured him on a trail camera in 2012.

His journey on the freeways was inspiring a wildlife crossing in an area of ​​Los Angeles highway that would allow big cats and other animals to pass safely between the mountains and forests of the north. The bridge was destroyed in April.

P-22 was captured last December in a residential backyard after a dog attack. Examinations revealed a skull fracture — the result of a car crash — and chronic diseases including skin infections and kidney and liver diseases. The city’s beloved big cat was euthanized five days later.

Los Angeles celebrated his life last month at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park in a star-studded memorial that included musical performances, tribal blessings, speeches about the importance of P-22’s life and the preservation of wildlife, and a video message from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

To honor the place where the animal made its home amid the city’s urban sprawl, a stone from Griffith Park was brought to the cemetery in the Santa Monica Mountains and placed near P-22’s grave, Salazar said.

Learn how to navigate and build trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter that explores what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *