'Long Live the King': Mural honoring famed L.A. mountain lion P-22 debuts

The famed Los Angeles mountain lion P-22 who captured the hearts of Angelenos now lives on in a mural honoring the beloved feline in Fairfax.

P-22 was euthanized on Dec. 17 due to severe injuries after being hit by a car along with various age-related illnesses.

A gathering was held on Sunday at Griffith Park to mourn and honor the famous 12-year-old cougar. He was a mascot for wildlife conservation in Los Angeles.

Though P-22 has passed on, a local artist has found a way to keep P-22 alive with a new mural in the Fairfax District on Melrose near Ogden.

The giant art piece features P-22 standing tall while wearing a golden crown. Alongside the cat are four white doves and large text reading, “Long Live the King.”

“He’s the king of the hills,” the artist, Corie Mattie, tells KTLA’s Carlos Saucedo. “He’s always going to be. He’s so majestic that I was like, I want something to pay homage to him.”

Mattie says the mural took her less than 22 hours to complete.

“I’m actually shocked as to how many people were affected by his death,” said Mattie. “And it’s great to see because I love how so many people have connected with him. It’s just nice to use art therapy, for not only myself but also for onlookers.”

Mattie said she feels a close connection to P-22 after seeing the cat in person from just a few feet away in the Hollywood Hills earlier this year.

“I actually thought it was my brother’s dog and then I went to pick him up, but it was not my dog,” recalled Mattie.

In October, Mattie also painted another mural honoring P-22 in Silverlake. The area was the furthest south the cougar had ever roamed.

Born in the Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 crossed the 405 and 101 Freeways about a decade ago. P-22 was the inspiration for the creation of one of the largest wildlife crossings in the nation.

Mattie explains if one looks close enough into P-22’s eyes in her mural, you’ll spot two white doves staring back.

“It’s going to bring that conversation forward about awareness and conservation in L.A.,” said Mattie. “I really don’t think there’s another cat that’s going to take its place. Even if there’s one that makes it over here, he [P-22] was the original — he’s the OG — and he’s just been through so much that the other cat is going to have to earn its right.”

Mattie’s mural also includes a QR code that when scanned, will direct viewers to resources for saving endangered wild cats just like P-22.