California’s celebrity mountain lion P22 was euthanized Saturday morning, ending the feline’s decades-long reign over Los Angeles, after he was found with severe health problems, officials said.
P-22, thought to be 12 years old, was the face of an international effort to save California’s threatened puma population and helped draw support for the world’s biggest wildlife bridge, a $90 million project expected to be finished in 2025.
After a comprehensive medical evaluation, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife found that the beloved mountain lion “had several severe injuries and chronic health problems,” according to a Saturday statement. He was “compassionately euthanized” Saturday morning, officials said.
He had “significant trauma” to his head, right eye and internal organs, confirming worries that he’d suffered a recent injury, perhaps the result of being hit by a car. The medical team at San Diego Zoo Safari Park said the damage to his internal organs would require invasive surgical repair.
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The team also determined P-22 was suffering from pre-existing illnesses, including irreversible kidney disease, chronic weight loss, an extensive parasitic skin infection over his entire body and arthritis.
Left with “no hope for a positive outcome,” authorities chose to compassionately euthanize P-22, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife said.
“Mountain lion P-22 has had an extraordinary life and captured the hearts of the people of Los Angeles and beyond,” the statement said. “The most difficult, but compassionate choice was to respectfully minimize his suffering and stress by humanely ending his journey.”
The evaluation included a physical exam, organ function tests, infectious disease screening, and CT scans of the skull, chest and abdomen.
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