When we wrote an editorial last week suggesting that the mountain lion P-22, who strolled out of his usual Griffith Park habitat and temporarily hunkered down in the crawl space of a nearby Los Feliz house, should be given a proper name, our readers took up the challenge.
"Jack," offered a reader named—yes, you guessed it -- Jack.
"Randy," suggested another. "He is looking for love and he loves L.A." (We did a round-up of suggestions.)
Reader Pam Carlisle had a similar but more elegant take on that "lion on the make" meme. She sent it to Martha Groves, my colleague in the California section who has written in detail about the wanderings of P-22.
"May I suggest 'El Soltero,' which means 'The Bachelor' in Spanish," Carlisle wrote.
Indeed, P-22 should be on the prowl for love. That's what Kate Kuykendall of the National Park Service told me when I talked to her last week. "One of the big things for them, when they turn 2, is to be with a mate," she said. That's probably why he left the western part of the Santa Monica Mountains—his DNA ties him to mountain lions that have roamed there—and, daringly, crossed the 405 and 101 freeways in the first place. But now he's in Griffith Park, the pickings for mates are slim, and he really has nowhere to go easily. He's estimated to be 5 or 6 years old. The clock is ticking for him.
Well, we can't get him a mate, but maybe we can get him a name. We officially invite readers to submit suggestions. I'll blog again next week, post the best suggestions and put them up for a vote.
And by the way, we get it—he's not our pet puma. We understand that he's a wild animal who should stay away from us humans and our neighborhoods. National Park Service officials believe he feels the same. He has studiously avoided tourists and hikers in Griffith Park during the day and probably judged the Los Feliz crawl space to be a refuge from people, not a photo op. But still, he has enthralled us and has become, as Kuykendall put it, an "ambassador for coexisting with wildlife."
This ambassador deserves a more fitting title than a letter and a number.