Cori Mattie, a Los Angeles-based artist, was enjoying a few glasses of wine when she heard noises outside her home. It was nighttime in the city.
She initially believed the Labrador Retriever owned by her brother had left the home, so she went to bring him inside.
But the dog wasn’t it. Mattie exclaims, “It was a [expletive] mountain lion.”
And not just any mountain lion—the most well-known one in Hollywood, if not the entire world.
He stared at her with glowing green eyes. She also fixed her gaze on him. The B-22 lingered till daylight before silently escaping over a lattice fence as she quickly recorded it on camera before slipping inside.
“He could have killed me, but he chose not to. He rapidly became my spirit animal as the situation worsened. I immediately went from zero to one hundred “She said.
The Angelino B-22 has enchanted many people before Mattie. Since 2012, when he managed to cross two dangerous motorways and settle in Griffith Park, a 4,200-acre mountain in the middle of one of the world’s largest concrete jungles, the city has been under his control.
Since then, he has become a local folk hero because to his personality and peculiar choice of urban setting. His predicament—being stranded on an urban island with little chance of finding a mate—has also elevated him to the status as the face of an organization dedicated to saving endangered animals.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife warned this week that the lion now faces two potentially gloomy futures: being moved or being put to death owing to its more unpredictable behavior as it ages. Will not be going back to Griffith Park.
Whatever transpires, his ten-year dominance solidified his position as a Hollywood dazzling light equal to any star of the big screen.
A star is born
In comparison to a mountain lion’s regular range of 150 square miles, Griffith Park is modest. However, the B-22 was prepared to give up room for a desirable position, much like many city inhabitants.
When Miguel Urdinana, a park biologist, was reviewing nocturnal film from his wildlife camera traps in February 2012, he made the initial discovery.
“All of a sudden, this enormous lion’s butt shows up on my computer screen!” Ordinana thinks back.
He didn’t believe it at first, but a subsequent shot proved that the park had a fascinating new inhabitant.
And renowned wildlife photographer Steve Winter, who put up a camera trap beneath the Hollywood Sign, was entranced by the enormous cat. Before bringing the B-22 into the camera’s field of view, he waited more than a year.
A celebrity was born as a result of the National Geographic shot going viral.
Because they live in a big city and frequent a park that was once wild and home to mountain lions, it offered them hope, according to Winter. He said, “He’s become a celebrity in Celebrity City.”
Since then, there have been ten B-22 adventures. In 2015, he crept beneath a Los Feliz home, where he startled a maintenance worker. He periodically appears in front of the doors and the garden cameras, seeming imposing, or even compassionate, as he consumes a deer he has just killed. Because of the city’s fondness for him, they pardoned him when he (likely) murdered a koala in a park in Los Angeles. B-22 Day was proclaimed by Los Angeles on October 22.
However, it has also come to represent a more sinister side of life for mountain lions in California.
Rat poison, which is now pervasive across Los Angeles, was also present in the local wildlife, including wolves, raccoons, and other small animals.
B-22 camera traps captured him in 2014 appearing sick, and authorities removed him for treatment.
It wasn’t a joke when a photo of him seeming elderly and bewildered quickly went viral. It was discovered to be covered with rat poison and scabies, two diseases that typically result in the death of mountain lions.
California’s highway system has encircled several animal species’ habitats. Although California is home to up to 6,000 mountain lions.
As the cats turned to inbreeding, reducing their genetic pool, the researchers predict that the population in the Santa Monica Mountains, where B-22 was most likely born, will go extinct within 50 years.
Travel to new habitats is also fatal due to large pieces of asphalt. A pregnant mountain lioness was murdered in September as she attempted to cross the Malibu Highway, which cuts through a vital area of habitat. Rat poison was found in her body, as well as the bodies of her four unborn cubs.
B-22 was once seen on camera by Ordinana while making a beseeching mating cry.
Griffith Park’s proximity to roads and other development made it impossible for it to find a mate and have offspring.
The Lion King’s era is finished.
He falls when he is with the people he loves. By the time he was twelve, he was spending more time acting erratically in the nearby cities around the park. A Chihuahua, one of the least endangered yet fiercely protected animals in Los Angeles, was recently murdered. He attacked a neighbor who was walking his dog, and it was the final straw.
The B-22 was underweight, covered with scabies, and suffering from an eye injury most likely brought on by a vehicle collision when authorities trapped him in a garden on December 12, according to biologist Jeff Sikich of the National Park Service. Haya was the one who spent the most time aboard the B-22.
The likelihood of his release back into the wild was disclosed at a news conference the next day.
Even while it may have been unfortunate, his supporters believe that removing him from Griffith Park and placing him in a sanctuary would be the best case scenario, ensuring the safety of his legacy as a LA legend.
Mattie, who painted a sizable mural of him and is active in efforts for wildlife protection, claimed that “He managed to thrive here despite all obstacles.” Insisting on that “Many people can identify with him. Los Angeles will chew you up and spit you out, so it’s not simple.” But it is still here right now.