After capturing the most famous mountain lion in Los Angeles on Monday, wildlife officials say that P-22 faces an uncertain future, will never return to the wild and could be euthanized.
The Griffith Park cougar was taken to a veterinary medical facility, where officials say he’s undergoing an extensive health assessment.
“He is in top care. I just want to assure people,” Beth Pratt, with the National Wildlife Federation, told KTLA’s Mary Beth McDade.
Pratt has been advocating for P-22 for the last decade and has been in close communication with officials who are caring for the cat.
She says the feline is severely underweight and has trauma to his face, suggesting he may have recently been hit by a car. Vets plan to conduct a CT scan on the animal this week to determine if he’s suffering from more extensive internal trauma.
“We know that he may have been hit by a car and there is some concern about a head injury near his eye,” Pratt said. “He is underweight and he is showing signs of mange.”
Wildlife experts decided to capture the animal after a sudden change in behavior. He attacked two pet dogs, killing one of them, and instead of returning to his Griffith Park home, the cat stuck around busy urban areas.
“We don’t know what else is going on. Obviously, this really radical change in his behavior could point to an underlying condition, could point to exposure to rat poison like he had before,” Pratt said.
Officials said the elderly cougar won’t be released back into the wild. He will most likely go to an animal sanctuary or be euthanized, depending on further medical tests.
“The intent is to keep him alive, but I think what they are preparing the public for is if there is cancer or something that’s just a severe disease that’s causing him suffering, much like you would with a pet, that may be an option, to euthanize,” Pratt said.
According to officials, it will take several weeks before P-22’s fate is determined.