To help ring in this year’s P22 Day, a children’s book based on the famous mountain lion was published on that day, Oct. 22.
“The Cat That Changed America” is based on the true story of the cat who was born in the Santa Monica Mountains, but author Tony Lee Moral uses imagination to bring the story to life in a new way for young readers. In this story, P22 is forced out of the mountains by Prime, a fierce older male lion who wants him dead.
The young P22 leaves the area to try to create a new life for himself in the city, crossing the 405 and the 101 freeways, making friends and enemies along the way. Moral takes his character through well-known spots as he tries his best to avoid humans while finding a safe space to call home. After readers follow the mountain lion to Griffith Park, Moral introduces an epilogue that raises awareness of the real P22’s plight: “As of 2020, P22 has been living in Griffith Park now for over eight years,” he writes. “But he is effectively trapped and will never find a mate as no other mountain lion can reach the park without getting killed on the freeways. That’s why SAVE LA COUGARS needs your help to support other mountain lions like P22.”
Construction on a wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway is set to begin in 2021, but they need you to spread the word and donations.
With this story and the author’s pleas, younger children learning about P22 are sure to join the community of those seeking to improve life for P22 and other wildlife.