LOS ANGELES – The National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign celebrated the incredible legacy of the beloved P-22 mountain lion yesterday with over ten thousand people at the 8th Annual P-22 Day Festival in Griffith Park. It was an emotional gathering since P-22 was compassionately euthanized in December 2022.
Among the very special guests at the festival were actress Julia Butters and artist and podcast producer Van Lathan. The day also included the indigenous voices of Chumash and Tataviam elder Alan Salazar, Steven Garcia of Tongva, Mescalero Apache, and Yaqui descent, and Tina Calderon of Gabrielino Tongva, Chumash, Mexican and Yoeme descent. The event was also filled with live music featuring the classic American do-wop band, The Tokens, the Los Angeles-based Afro-Cuban band, SintaraSon and 3rd Rock Hip-Hop from the Watts community. Local policymakers were also there to greet members of the community including California State Senator María Elena Durazo, California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino, California Assemblymember Laura Friedman and Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman.
To continue building bridges for our collective future, the #SaveLACougars campaign recently announced a new #P22Legacy phase that will seek to raise $15 million. These funds will advance future wildlife crossings and connectivity projects across Southern California to reconnect critical wildlife corridors and restore the ecological vibrancy of the country’s most densely populated urban area. The new funding goal will also support the holistic completion of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing including on-going efforts at its dedicated native plant nursery, future habitat stewardship on the site, education, and outreach efforts, as well as, support research by the National Park Service.
P-22 captured the imagination of people everywhere in 2012, when he miraculously crossed two of the busiest freeways in the country to find a home in an unlikely place: in the middle of the second largest city in the country. Somehow, trapped in by freeways and urban sprawl on all sides, P-22 survived alone in Griffith Park, for over a decade. It was his incredible story of survival against all odds that led to the monumental movement that is building the visionary Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing to save P-22’s mountain lion kin from extinction and ensure a future for all wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Now under construction and slated for completion in 2025, the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing will be a first for California, the largest of its kind in the world and a global model for urban wildlife conservation.
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