Flash Mob

Hollywood’s celebrity mountain lion is sick of the trappings of fame.

April 15, 2015

Photo: NPS

A mountain lion named P-22 first rose to stardom in 2013, when a National Geographic photographer snapped a striking shot of the big cat in front of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. Despite his celebrity, P-22 is still a wild animal—and his many trials and tribulations highlight the challenges faced by wildlife living in proximity to urban centers. P-22 had to cross both the 405 and the 101 freeways to make his home in the park (some of his cat colleagues have died trying). Later, he developed mange after being exposed to rat poison, and biologists with the National Park Service had to capture him and restore him to health. But his latest drama unfolded on Monday, when workers discovered him in the crawl space beneath a home in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood.

Word spread, and news trucks and helicopters soon entered the scene. Wildlife officials attempted to coax P-22 out, but the cat wasn’t interested in facing the media storm. Imagine that. For hours, the mob made a ruckus in its attempt to provide live coverage of the situation. As Slate reported, “In the best cases, the media can help people connect with nature in a positive way, helping them understand and appreciate it. Monday night, journalists acted as paparazzi, participating instead in the harassment and exploitation of a distressed animal.”

P-22 eventually made his getaway in the dead of night once everyone went home and left him alone. Pumas prefer privacy.

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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