LOS ANGELES (AP) — An artist has devoted a sweeping new street mural to the memory of one of Los Angeles' most famous residents.
The subject? P-22, the celebrated mountain lion who took up residence in the city and was euthanized last weekend amid worsening health and injuries likely caused by a car.
With a sweep of her brush, Corie Mattie has erected a memorial on the side of a building showing the beloved big cat wearing a crown with the words “Long Live the King.” Earlier this year, she painted a separate mural devoted to P-22, where residents left flowers after the cougar died.
“He’s still the king of the hill,” Mattie told local media. “There’s never going to be another P-22.”
P-22 became the face of a campaign to build a wildlife crossing over a Los Angeles-area freeway to give big cats, coyotes, deer and other wildlife a safe path to the nearby Santa Monica Mountains, where they have room to roam.
The cougar was regularly recorded on security cameras strolling through residential areas near his home in Griffith Park, an oasis of hiking trails and picnic areas in the middle of the city.
Long outfitted with a tracking collar, P-22 was captured for examination in a residential backyard Dec. 12, a month after killing a Chihuahua on a dogwalker’s leash.
Wildlife officials said the decision was made to euthanize after veterinarians determined P-22 had a skull fracture and chronic illnesses including a skin infection and diseases of the kidneys and liver.
Daniel Richards, a 55-year-old tour guide, said it was sad to learn of P-22's passing and he hopes the mural will stay.
“He's kind of a legend,” Richards said of the mountain lion. “It's a really great mural and really memorializes something that was unique here in the city of Los Angeles.”