Thanks to a famous photo taken in front of the Hollywood Sign, the mountain lion P-22, who resides in Griffith Park, is well known around Los Angeles and beyond. But P-22 didn’t always call the Hollywood Hills home. The intrepid puma likely ventured about 50 miles from his place of birth in the Santa Monica Mountains.
As a tribute to P-22’s remarkable journey (which included two risky freeway crossings), members of the National Wildlife Federation are retracing it—marching from the Agoura Hills to Griffith Park over the course of four days.
The hike, which began this morning, is an attempt to call attention to the plight of area mountain lions trapped within the Los Angeles area by freeways and development. This constrained habitat has led to a lack of biodiversity—and a Game of Thrones level of murder and inbreeding—among the mountain lions, who are now threatened with extinction as a result.
Caltrans has proposed building a wildlife crossing over the 101 that would allow the mountain lions to venture out at least as far as the Santa Susana Pass. Money for the project, however, is scarce; wildlife activists are trying to raise $10 million by next year to get the project underway.
The hikers, led by California NWF director Beth Pratt Bergstrom, hope to inspire donors to contribute to that goal. Today, the Annenberg Foundation announced it would match donations to the animal crossing up to $1 million.
Those participating in the journey have been posting updates and video clips on the federation website. So far, it looks like the group’s just made it past Monte Nido.
On the backbone trail
Posted by Beth Pratt-Bergstrom on Wednesday, October 19, 2016
- Video: Inside the Hard Lives of Los Angeles Mountain Lions [Curbed LA]
- Because of freeways, LA’s inbred mountain lions might be extinct in 50 years [Curbed LA]
- Meet the Murderous, Inbred Mountain Lion Family of the Santa Monica Mountains [Curbed LA]