“The Cat That Changed America,” a new documentary about the P-22 will debut at the DTLA Film Festival September 29th.
Check out the trailer…
The Natural History Museum has created a new exhibition about P-22 where you can experience his death-defying journey across not one, but two of the busiest freeways in the country.
Ever wonder what a mountain lion sounds like in the wild? It’s not what you think.
Earlier this year, the LA Times published a wonderful interactive piece following the a week in the life of P-22. See if you can spot the puma lurking just yards away captured in a harrowing family snapshot.
Wildlife advocates are working to build support for a number of measures to help preserve the Santa Monica mountain lion population. Two critical efforts are the construction of a wildlife corridor to allow animals to travel through their natural territory, and the campaign against the use of rodent poison which is lethal for the big cats and other animals.
Please donate to the fund to save La cougars. They’ve already reached more than 93% of their goal and they need your support.
One night about four years ago, a young mountain lion left his home in Topanga Canyon and made a twenty-mile journey east to Griffith Park.
To make the trip, the teenage cat had to cross all six lanes of the 405 freeway and the 101 freeway. It was truly a death-defying journey.
P–22, as he was named by scientists, became an instant celebrity after the release of a stunning nighttime photo captured by National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter. From this image, the world got a glimpse of the big cat, poised and regal, prowling along a ridge with the Hollywood sign above him.
One of the magical things about living in Los Angeles is the increasingly rare opportunity to live among nature. Griffith Park, for instance, is the only urban wilderness park in the country.
Yet, it is a precarious balance. Living with wildlife does cause friction for us humans. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for more than fifteen years and I understand the occasional nuisance brought by skunks and raccoons. And as the pet-parent of a 15-pound schnauzer-poodle, I understand very well the real and present danger that coyotes pose to our small pets. I also believe that it is not only possible to live along side wildlife, but this is one of the great privileges of living in Los Angeles.
With all the bad news about the environment, I was delighted to read When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors, by Beth Pratt-Bergstrom (National Wildlife Federation, 2016).
Above all, this is a hopeful book.
Ms. Pratt-Bergstrom, who is the California Director of the National Wildlife Federation, has many uplifting and promising stories to tell. Besides P–22, we learn about the pair of does crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during rush hour while drivers wait patiently for the deer to cross the two-mile bridge. We discover how harbor porpoises have returned to the San Francisco Bay for the first time in 65 years. We are introduced to Meatball the Glendale bear. And we meet the Facebook Foxes.
“I want to focus on the awe. My hope with this book is to start a viral meme of wonder for the almost forty million people that live in the Golden State and beyond.” – Beth Pratt-Bergstrom
Much like Los Angeles, Silicon Valley was once a manufacturing hub. Even long after industry has moved on, its toxic legacy remains. Abandoned infrastructure, paved over greenbelts and poisoned groundwater threatens species up and down the ecological chain.
New high-tech companies like Facebook are committed to creating a park-like spaces for their employees. In doing so, they unwittingly created opportunities for new residents, like the gray fox.
As Ms. Pratt-Bergstrom tells the story, a small gray fox appeared at the window of Mark Zuckerberg’s office. Naturally, Zuckerberg snapped a photo and posted it to his account. All it took was the world’s most famous Facebook friend for the little foxes to become instant celebrities.
Turns out the rolling open spaces Facebook designed for its workers is also very attractive habitats for foxes. Once they were discovered, people at Facebook began to create guidelines for adapting to the foxes such as avoiding direct contact and no feeding. Today, both humans and foxes are thriving side-by-side. The foxes are raising families on the campus and the Facebook folks happily accommodate them in the least intrusive way possible. Check out the FB Fox Facebook page.
And here is the hopeful message of When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors. It is quite possible to find ways for people and urban wildlife to coexist.
It’s pure fantasy to imagine that we could ever return to the unspoiled gardens of California’s past. It’s equally unrealistic to believe that wildlife, particularly larger predators, can successfully exist in isolated habitats we carve out for them.
A single male cougar can have a territorial range of up to 250 square miles. In Griffith Park, P–22 gets by on a mere 8 square miles.
Scientists don’t fully understand why P–22 set out for Griffith Park. Perhaps he was searching for food or new territory. Maybe it was for the sheer adventure of it. However, one thing is clear. Unless he risks another dangerous crossing of freeways, P–22 is effectively stranded in the park.
For now, P–22 appears healthy and the deer that makes up his diet are in good supply. But he cannot mate. Clearly, a species without progeny is a species without a future.
Thanks to the support of Friends of Griffith Park one solution under study is the creation of wildlife corridors. These corridors would serve as passageways between greenbelts and parks, restoring natural migration patterns.
Imagine a network of corridors where cougars, deer, and coyotes could roam freely through their natural range.
Imagine homeowners turning their yards and gardens into wildlife habitats.
This is exactly the kind of movement toward coexistence that Pratt-Bergstrom so passionately advocates.
Facebook has this motto painted on one wall: ‘Done is better than perfect.’ Let’s apply our efforts to make room for wildlife in urban spaces. Burrowing owls, foxes, beavers, and their kin are willing to compromise. Are we?” – Beth Pratt-Bergstrom