Mountain lion P-22 buried in the Santa Monica Mountains

Mountain lion P-22 buried in the Santa Monica Mountains

P-22, the mountain lion who prowled Griffith Park for more than a 10 years, was buried Saturday in an intimate tribal ceremony in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Customers of 4 local tribes led the ceremony to honor the beloved puma, a symbol of the wilderness continue to present in Southern California. A smaller group of officials from corporations that experienced researched and championed P-22, like the National Park Company and the Nationwide Wildlife Federation, also attended.

P-22 was buried where he most likely was born and wherever other mountain lions continue to roam. The sacred ceremony was not open to the public and was not recorded. To safeguard P-22’s continues to be, the site of the grave will not be disclosed.

“We experienced one basic aim: To attempt and be as respectful as probable to such a magnificent animal,” said Alan Salazar, a tribal elder with the Fernandeño Tataviam and Ventureño Chumash tribes. “He was a leader. He was a main.”

In 1 of the most strong times of the ceremony, a red-tailed hawk wheeled overhead and termed out a number of instances, attendees explained.

Through the ceremony, tribal associates executed standard tracks and manufactured choices, Salazar mentioned. Attendees also formed a circle, and anybody “who wanted to offer a prayer, or just say a couple phrases, express their feelings, everyone was permitted to do that — Indigenous, non-Native.”

“It was a lovely, organic setting,” stated Beth Pratt, a regional govt director in California for the Countrywide Wildlife Federation. “Knowing the magnificence of the place he’s laid to relaxation, it presents me some comfort.”

The non-public burial, Pratt stated, was a stark distinction to the community memorial for P-22 at the Greek Theatre previous thirty day period. That event lasted far more than a few hours and highlighted 4 dozen tributes, which include music and speeches, to the puma at times known as the “King of Griffith Park.”

P-22 was euthanized in December right after a sequence of wellness tests exposed he was struggling from several persistent circumstances and experienced sustained a cranium fracture from currently being hit by a motor vehicle in Los Feliz. He was believed to be about 12 a long time aged.

The mountain lion surprised the globe when he appeared in Los Feliz in 2012. He is believed to have been born in the Santa Monica Mountains and to have built an unbelievable journey to reach Griffith Park, by way of the Hollywood Hills and across the 405 and 101 freeways.

Saturday’s burial also marked the end of months of discussion about how to deal with the stays of an animal found as crucial to scientific exploration but also sacred to community tribes that see mountain lions as teachers and kin.

Ahead of P-22’s demise, the Los Angeles County Organic Record Museum secured a allow from the California Section of Fish and Wildlife to maintain the mountain lion’s stays for scientific analysis. That alone was a departure from custom ordinarily, the bodies of wild animals are discarded.

Right after tribal communities lifted concerns about the options for P-22’s body, the museum convened a panel with reps from various tribes — together with the Gabrielino-Shoshone Country and the Gabrieleño/Tongva San Gabriel, Fernandeño Tataviam and Barbareño/Ventureño Bands of Mission Indians — to hammer out a new strategy with the NPS and the fish and wildlife department.

“There’s not a govt company out there that I trust,” Salazar stated. “For us to sit down at the table, have a cup of tea, break bread, and then make some important decisions that are likely to established precedent — it was pretty refreshing to see. It provides me hope.”

Salazar said the team was “democracy at its purest. We would discuss, debate, and then go, ‘OK, let’s just acquire a vote on it.’ It was vast majority principles, and which is how we designed all of our decisions.”

Right after assembly for months, the teams settled on a non-public burial. On Saturday morning, tribal pallbearers picked up P-22’s body from the Pure Heritage Museum, explained Amy Gusick, the museum’s curator of anthropology.

A museum woodworker had been asked to establish a box for P-22’s final journey to the burial website. He shocked the group with a exclusive biodegradable casket manufactured of untreated pine and coated with orange oil and beeswax. At the request of the tribes, the museum is preserving the box for any potential repatriation of other animals, Gusick said.

P-22’s human body was buried in a shroud.

“As a tribal man or woman, our village web-sites have been desecrated and wrecked,” Salazar mentioned. “If folks discover out that there is an historic village site close to them, they are heading to dig them up. It was a concern that not every person is respectful of a burial. There are some persons who — it bewilders me — would want a tooth or a claw from these kinds of a sacred animal.”