Letters – September 20, 2019

Eulogy for P-38

When I would drive through the Santa Susana Mountains or Simi Valley, I would always think of the magnificent P-38 roaming in the hills. I knew him from this series of photos, where his eyes radiated such an intensity, a wild intelligence, curious and considering of the world. “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language,” said Martin Buber, and P-38’s eyes communicated his noble wildness.

A remarkable cat, he fathered many litters of kittens, and managed to figure out how to survive all the formidable challenges of urban living, except this one—the senseless and brutal killing by a man.

That P-38’s eyes were shut forever by this stupid act of violence is heartbreaking to me, that his wild soul will no longer roam the Santa Susanas or sire any more kittens is tragic.

As Jane Goodall said, “If we kill off the wild, then we are killing a part of our souls.”

Animal poaching is difficult to prove and prosecute, and these crimes often go unpunished. I am very thankful to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten for filing charges. Please let them know you are thankful as well.

I hope the maximum sentence and penalties are imposed on this person for this senseless killing of such a magnificent cat.

—Beth Pratt, Wildlife advocate, author,

California Director for the National Wildlife Federation


Wildlife advocate Bett Pratt Bergstrom describes P-38 has having been “a remarkable cat.” The Ventura County DA is pressing charges against the suspect who shot this mountain lion. The species has special protections in California. See page 15 for more details on the case. Photo courtesy National Park Service


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