Hollywood’s most famous mountain lion will be remembered today at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park in a public and family friendly memorial put on by the “Save LA Cougars.” The event is free and open to the public, and will be filmed for a documentary.
The event will run from noon Pacific time until 2 PM. Free tickets are gone, but a livestream of the memorial can be viewed here.
The “Save LA Cougars” group campaigned for a wildlife crossing over a Los Angeles-area freeway to permit safe passage between the mountains and other areas. The bridge broke ground in April.
P-22 was captured on Dec. 12 in a Los Feliz backyard. He had been hit by a car shortly before that, and an examination revealed a skull fracture, a skin condition, and liver and kidney diseases. The mountain lion had lived beyond a typical age for his kind, and the decision was made to euthanize him.
His remains are stored in a freezer at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. But what happens next is controversial, and those producing today’s memorial have asked that no demonstrations or disruptions of the program take place.
Biologists and conservationists want to study P-22 tissue, fur and whisker samples to research his unique background. But some representatives of the Chumash, Tataviam, and Gabrielino (Tongva) peoples are asking for P-22 to be returned untouched to be honored with a traditional burial.
Tribal communities regard mountain lions as relatives and teachers, according to Alan Salazar, a tribal member of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and a descendent of the Chumash tribe who spoke to ABC News. Salazar said his death should be honored appropriately.
“We want to bury him like he’s a ‘wot,’ like a ‘tomier,’ ” Salazar said, “which are two of the words for chief or leader” in the Chumash and Tataviam languages, respectively. “Because that’s what he was.”