While I was at the Natural History Museum the other day to visit the Extreme Mammals exhibit, I saw the new display about P-22, the mountain lion who lives in Griffith Park.
From the Natural History Museum website:
In the hills of Griffith Park, a mountain lion roams. His name is P-22.
Born in the western Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 crossed both the 405 and 101 freeways, eventually reaching Griffith Park. He lives alone in this small territory by the Hollywood sign, surrounded and confined by the city of L.A. P-22 was first spotted by now NHMLA Citizen Science Coordinator Miguel Ordeñana in 2012 as part of the Griffith Park Connectivity Study, a joint effort of Cooper Ecological and the U.S. Geological Survey.
P-22, and other big cats like him, are often blamed for encroaching on people’s homes. The truth is, people are the one’s encroaching on the home of the mountain lions.
This is a map of the LA area and the city these lions have to deal with. The dark red splodge at lower right shows P-22’s habitat. Basically he is caged in by the freeways all around him. Many cats have lost their lives trying to cross them.
A closer look at P-22’s area. He lives in Griffith Park all by himself.
P-41 is also hemmed in by freeways all around.
The inability to move around to other territories is the cause of inbreeding, as with P-19, who, having no choice, mated with her father. This doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.
Wildlife crossings over the freeways have been proposed for years but so far nothing has been done. It isn’t just the big cats that suffer from being penned in, it’s all the species of animals, insects, plants that are stuck in small habitats. My answer is, let’s keep people trapped in their own neighborhoods and let the animals roam freely!
Just as important is the habitat of insects like the Delhi Sands fly. If just one small part of the eco-system is endangered it causes a domino effect for all of us.
One fly, one species… and then the human species. We live in dangerous times!