I streamed the touching tribute to LA’s most famous mountain lion as it was held live at the Greek Theater in Griffith Park (his home for over ten years) to a sellout crowd of 6,000 people. His fame brought attention to the plight of all cougars and other wildlife roaming the dangerous built environment in Southern California. Partly because of him the $90 million Wallis Annenberg wildlife crossing is already under construction over a 10-lane stretch of the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills. Ms. Annenberg spoke at the memorial.
This is the link to a story about P-22 that explains everything better than I can. He was beloved by everyone (except the hit and run driver who finished him off) and I shed a tear to hear of his demise.
Usually no matter how much coaxing I do, Frankie will not take a nap with me on the sofa. He actually craves being picked up, but only in the kitchen for whatever weird reason.
(Freddie has no such problem and will often settle down with me on the sofa whether I want him to or not.)
However, lately it has been VERY chilly (for Los Angeles) and my heater doesn’t do a good job. So Frankie has been forced to come and snuggle with me in the evenings… two evenings in a row in fact, wow, a miracle!
Unfortunately for him I don’t sit still for very long but when I move him off my lap he stays under the blanket purring loudly.
Good news for the Mountain Lions of Los Angeles
Two decades of study by the National Park Service in the Los Angeles area has shown roads and development are not only proving deadly for animals trying to cross [the freeways], but have also created islands of habitat that can genetically isolate all wildlife—from bobcats to birds to lizards. The species most immediately at risk, the mountain lion, could vanish from the area in less than 50 years. Of all the area roads, multiple research and planning efforts have identified the 101 Freeway as the most significant barrier to the ecological health of the region, and a possible extinction vortex.
Recently I was on a Zoom meeting sponsored by the West LA Group of the Sierra Club regarding the overpass. It seems that by the end of 2021, if everything continues on track, work could begin on the world’s largest wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon, less than 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles as the crow flies or 40 miles by freeway (64 km). Very exciting news.
Frankie is contemplating his next big project. Perhaps photographing elephants in Africa or bears in Alaska… or hummingbirds on the balcony? A nap always helps to rejuvenate the creative juices!
National Park Service
And in news from the Santa Monica Mountains, mountain lion P-55 sadly passed away recently at three years old. His claim to fame was crossing the 101 freeway at least twice. The cause of death can’t be determined because he was too badly decomposed by the time he was found.
For only the second time in 16 years, a mountain lion has been recorded crossing the 101 Freeway south into the Santa Monica Mountains, National Park Service officials said Tuesday.
Moving under the freeway through a pitch black culvert the length of two football fields, the mountain lion identified as P-64 was captured on camera March 1 crossing from Simi Valley and the Santa Susana Mountains to the Santa Monica Mountains, the park service said.
It’s pretty amazing that this cat figured out that this culvert would take him across as there was no way he could see the other end. The National Park Service has long promoted the idea of a wildlife crossing over this freeway. Since they started recording statistics in 2002, eighteen mountain lions have been killed attempting to cross roads and freeways in the area.
It’s important that the animals can roam into other territories to mate. Otherwise they run the risk of becoming extinct in this region.
I was sad to find out that according to the Los Angeles Times, the mountain lion tagged P-41 was found dead Wednesday. Residents in the area found the male puma near Shadow Hills.
From LA Times: The cause of death had not been determined. The cat had been dead for several days, and the carcass was decayed, said Kate Kuykendall, spokeswoman for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will conduct a necropsy in the next couple of weeks, she said.
At about 10 years old, P-41 was considered to be of advanced age for a mountain lion in the wild. But his death could have been hastened by causes including rat poison and the La Tuna fire, which burned more than 7,000 acres in the Verdugos last month.
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!