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Tribe Buries Famous Southern California Mountain Lion, P-22: NPR

This November 2014 National Park Service file photo shows a newly released image of a Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22.


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This November 2014 National Park Service file photo shows a newly released image of a Griffith Park mountain lion known as P-22.


LOS ANGELES — Tribal leaders, scientists and conservationists buried Southern California’s most famous mountain lion on Saturday in a mountain where big cats once roamed.

After taking up residence in urban Griffith Park, home of the Hollywood sign for the past decade, P-22 has spent the last decade exploring the endangered California mountain lion and its dwindling genetic diversity. It has become a symbol. The mountain lion’s name comes from being his 22nd puma in a National Park Service study.

of Cougar’s death late last year Discussions have begun between tribes and wildlife authorities in the Los Angeles area about whether scientists can keep samples of the puma’s remains for future testing and research.

Some representatives of the Chumash, Tataviam and Gabrielino (Tongva) tribes believe that the samples taken during the autopsy should be buried with the rest of the body in the ancestral land where he spent his life. I claimed. Some tribal elders said keeping specimens for scientific testing was disrespectful to their traditions. In LA tribal communities, mountain lions are considered cousins ​​and teachers.

In recent weeks, tribal representatives, wildlife officials and others have been discussing potential compromises, but no agreement was reached before the P-22 was buried at an unspecified location in the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday. I didn’t.

The State Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement Monday that “while we did everything we could to keep the carcasses intact, the tribes and agencies involved are still working toward a conclusion on some samples.” “What is important to understand is that the tribes and institutions involved all agreed to proceed with the burial, and it was a moving ceremony. We look forward to continued growth from the location.”

It’s not clear if the unidentified samples could be buried with the animals in the future, or if the tribe agreed to let scientists keep some specimens for additional testing. was.

Saturday’s traditional tribal burial included singing, prayers and cleansing with sage smoke, said Alan, a tribal member of the Fernandeño Tataviam band of Mission Indians and a descendant of the Chumash tribe. Salazar said.

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

“The death of the P-22 affected us all. He will forever be revered as a symbol and ambassador for wildlife conservation.” The museum said in a statement on Monday.

Speaking at the ceremony, Salazar said he believes the legacy of the P-22 will help wildlife authorities and scientists recognize the importance of respecting animals in the future.

Beth Pratt, California secretary general of the National Wildlife Federation, who also attended the ceremony, said, I wrote about the burial on Facebook As she grieves the death of an animal, “it has helped me achieve some peace”.

“You can also imagine a P-22 peaceful, very strong and caring send-off to the next place,” she wrote. I was 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 regular presence for years. One is a puma, the other is a leopard. However, pumas have taken to roaming the streets of Santiago, Chile during the pandemic lockdown.

Wildlife officials believe P-22 was born in the western Santa Monica Mountains about 12 years ago, but his father’s aggression and struggles to find a mate in a declining population led to P-22’s is gone. So Cougar crossed his two busy highways and moved east to Griffith Park. In 2012, a wildlife biologist caught a cougar on his camera on the trail.

His highway trips have inspired wildlife crossing freeways in the Los Angeles area. This allows large cats and other animals to pass safely between the northern mountains and wild lands. The bridge he started construction in April.

The P-22 was captured last December in the backyard of a home after being attacked by a dog. Tests revealed a skull fracture (resulting from being hit by a car) and chronic illness, including skin infections and kidney and liver disease. The city’s precious big cat was euthanized after five days.

Los Angeles last month celebrated his life at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park, featuring musical performances, tribal celebrations, speeches about the importance of P-22 life and wildlife conservation, and a video message from Governor Gavin Newsom. Then, a star-studded memorial ceremony was held. .

Griffith Park rocks were taken to a cemetery in the Santa Monica Mountains and placed near P-22’s grave to honor where the animal made its home in the urban sprawl, Salazar said. was placed.

https://www.npr.org/2023/03/07/1161569051/tribes-bury-p-22-southern-californias-famed-mountain-lion Tribe Buries Famous Southern California Mountain Lion, P-22: NPR

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