The US metropolis Los Angeles has lost a kind of mascot: The Puma P-22 aka “Brad Pitt”, which had been living wild in the city park for more than a decade, was put to sleep on Saturday after an accident – probably with a car, as the Los Angeles Times reported. In addition, the estimated twelve-year-old animal suffered from several diseases. The wild cat was caught on Monday because it had recently attacked three dogs. Experts attributed this to the diseases.
The popular cougar first appeared in 2012 in the city’s Griffith Park – an area of about three square kilometers surrounded by freeways. P-22 is said to have been around two years old at the time. Animal photographer Steve Winter set up several infrared cameras in the park and, among other things, managed to take a picture showing the Puma with the famous Hollywood lettering in the background. P-22 became the face of an international campaign to save Southern California’s endangered cougars.
The glamorous nickname Brad Pitt has a sad background: P-22 is not only called like the actor because of his beauty, but also because he is not lucky in love. Already at the beginning of the year it was said that the P-22 was lonely. In recent months, the Agency for Conservation and Biodiversity has noticed changes in his behavior. As he gets older, it becomes more difficult for him to cope with the challenges of his urban environment.
Recently, the puma was also doing poorly physically: examinations had shown a skull fracture, an injury to the right eye and internal organ damage. In addition, P-22 suffered from heart, kidney and liver disease. Fans of the puma had hoped until the end that the puma could be taken to a nature reserve.
The sadness of the loss is great. One congressman called P-22 a “beloved mascot,” and one biologist an “iconic ambassador for wildlife.” And another fan tweeted that the 12-year-old bachelor with the mesmerizing eyes was clearly “the coolest cat in LA.” California Governor Gavin Newsom stated that P-22’s survival “on an island of wilderness in the heart of Los Angeles has captivated people around the world and reinvigorated efforts to protect our diverse native species and ecosystems”.