A LOVE AFFAIR WITH AMERICA’S LION
His presence has provided an open air classroom for anyone who wants to learn about mountain lions, through media posts, research, and even in-person sightings as he has become conditioned to his ‘island’ of habitat in one of the densest human developments in the country.
He is known as P22 and his victory in surviving without conflict so close to humans is juxtaposed by the detriments we have inflicted upon him and others of his species.
He has gone through a lot in his life in the public eye in Griffith Park, including debilitating rodenticide poisoning, unnecessary and frightening hazing with a tennis ball server in a confined crawl space, and the inability to connect with a mate because of encroachment and lack of connectivity
The chances are that he will not pass on his genes-the function of survival in all living things. The chances are that he will not be alive when the magnificent overpass that will allow for greater connectivity and genetic diversity in mountain lions is built across the mighty and mightily devastating barrier of southern California highways.
P22 has been a teacher, even if his life has been lonely. Thank goodness he has brought awareness of the horrible dangers of poisons and infrastructure and their negative effects on wildlife. Let’s honor him by remembering these lessons going forward.