The Washington Post

Tribes bury famed mountain lion, P-22


Tribal leaders, scientists and conservati­on advocates buried Southern California’s most famous mountain lion Saturday in the mountains where the big cat once roamed.

After making his home in the urban Griffith Park — home of the Hollywood Sign — for the past decade, P-22 became a symbol for California’s endangered mountain lions and their decreasing genetic diversity. The mountain lion’s name comes from being the 22nd puma in a National Park Service study.

The death of the cougar late last year set off a debate between the tribes in the Los Angeles area and wildlife officials over whether scientists could keep samples of the mountain lion’s remains for future testing and research.

Some representa­tives of the Chumash, Tataviam and Gabrielino (Tongva) peoples argued that samples taken during the necropsy should be buried with the rest of his body in the ancestral lands where he spent his life. Some tribal elders said keeping the specimens for scientific testing would be disrespect­ful to their traditions. Mountain lions are regarded as relatives and considered teachers in L.A.’S tribal communitie­s.

Tribal representa­tives, wildlife officials and others discussed a potential compromise in recent weeks, but it was not immediatel­y clear Monday what conclusion the group reached before P-22 was buried in an unspecifie­d location in the Santa Monica Mountains on Saturday.

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