LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A memorial sunset hike was held at Griffith Park Sunday to celebrate the life of P-22, the iconic Los Angeles mountain lion who was euthanized Saturday due to severe injuries suffered in a likely automobile accident.
The local community was invited to participate in the hike, which began at Charlie Turner Trailhead, 2840 W. Observatory Road, according to City Councilwoman Nithya Raman's office.
The puma, who became the face of an international effort to save California's endangered mountain lion population, was widely mourned following the news of his death, several days after he was captured in a Los Feliz backyard and found to be injured, severely underweight and suffering from other ailments.
"RIP P-22," community organizer Christian La Mont tweeted Saturday. "He wasn't just a big cat. He was a symbol of resistance. Resistance to the idea that LA has no wildlife, to development in his own backyard, to dwindling numbers of mountain lions in SoCal. He lived his 9 cat lives to the fullest & captured our hearts."
Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Saturday morning that P-22 had been "compassionately euthanized" after a comprehensive medical evaluation showed he had "several severe injuries and chronic health problems."
"This really hurts," Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham said, fighting back tears. "It's been an incredibly difficult several days, and for myself, I felt the entire weight of the city of Los Angeles on my shoulders."
Bonham said that after consultation with several veterinary experts, the decision was made to humanely euthanize the animal at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where he was being treated, to spare him further suffering.
The lion, one of many Southland-area cats being tracked by National Park Service researchers, gained fame locally for his persistence and durability, successfully managing to cross both the 405 and 101 freeways to reach his recent roaming grounds in the Griffith Park area.
"P-22's advanced age, combined with chronic, debilitating, life- shortening conditions and the clear need for extensive long-term veterinary intervention left P-22 with no hope for a positive outcome," the CDFW said in a statement.
City News Service contributed to this report.