P-22 Memorial Draws Thousands of Adoring Fans
On February 4, 2023, a mild sunny day in Los Angeles, thousands of people gathered at the famous Greek Theatre to honor the life and legacy of celebrity lion P-22 at what may be the grandest memorial of its kind for a non-human animal. Sadly, P-22 was euthanized after a medical evaluation in December due to injuries from a lethal car strike combined with severe chronic diseases related to rodenticide poisons. Legislators, diplomats, and dignitaries donned the stage alongside performers and elementary school students to celebrate P-22’s contributions to the LA community and beyond. P-22 brought people together and galvanized a movement to build the world’s largest wildlife crossing over a busy highway to save his local species from extinction.
Save LA Cougar’s Campaign Leader Beth Pratt officiated the four-hour memorial with grace and compassion, acknowledging the sentience of P-22, to whom she devoted her life and work for a decade. Luminaries flew in from across the state and some presented via video to pay homage to P-22, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Department of Fish & Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham, California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Cinny Kennard, and Animal Road Crossing Founding Partner Jeremy Guth.
Performers of all ages sang songs celebrating P-22, whose life in the Los Angeles metropolis inspired many to respectfully coexist with our wild animal neighbors. The size and grandeur of the memorial itself demonstrate what is possible as we open our hearts to include the other animals around us. We can see the glorious potential of peace and harmony between humans and our animal cousins, a kinder world where all animals can be safe and free to live their own lives free of exploitation.
During the ceremony, Beth wowed the audience with a bold commitment to protect animals and enhance connectivity when she announced her pledge to raise half a billion dollars over the next five years for wildlife crossing projects nationwide with the Wildlife Crossing Fund. She has a great track record after raising $104 million to build the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing. In Defense of Animals contributed towards this effort and will pledge funds toward the Wildlife Crossing Fund. Wallis Annenberg started the drive off by donating the first $10 million to support wildlife crossings and save animals large and small from deadly car strikes nationwide.
Take a moment to check out our resource page to discover more about the importance of wildlife crossings for wild animals.
Please support our work to protect wild animals and contribute toward the Wildlife Crossing Fund by making a donation today in honor of P-22 and other animals who get struck and die while trying to cross the overwhelming maze of roads they’re faced with.