Happier days when P-22 was just a viral social media celebrity

Mountain lion P-22 is one of LA’s newest celebrities. Made famous by the iconic photo above, he became an animal ambassador for the wild mountain lion population in living in the Greater Los Angeles area. But now, he is wanted for the murder of a koala.

The city of Los Angeles is situated in a basin surrounded by several mountains and mountain ranges in which several mountain lion populations thrive above the urban sprawl. This is actually a bad news as they are essentially trapped in their habitats. As their population grows, mountain lions are likely to venture out to areas populated by humans or attack one another because there is no room to expand their territories.

First sign of trouble: breaking and entering a stranger’s house

P-22 actually got himself into a highly publicized incident last year when he was discovered hanging out in the crawl space of a fancy hillside residence. He snuck away quietly without being noticed despite the intense media circus around the house. This time around though, there may be no escape for P-22.

On March 3, a koala named Killarney went missing from the Los Angeles Zoo, and parts of her were subsequently found 400 yards away from its enclosure. While the surveillance footage didn’t record the very moment of crime being committed, it did show that P-22 had entered and roamed the zoo around the time of the murder. Granted, mountain lions aren’t the only animals that sneak into the zoo. Other wild animals had been sighted in the park as well, but the very possibility of mountain lions attacking zoo animals has nonetheless sparked an intense debate about the future of mountain lions at Griffith Park.

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Meanwhile, the surviving koalas at the zoo are being kept indoors for now and could not be reached for comment.