LOS ANGELES, CA.-
In the hills of Griffith Park, a lone mountain lion roams. To tell this urban carnivores story, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
debuted the new installation The Story of P-22, L.A.s Most Famous Feline on Friday, July 21, 2017. After he was born in the Western Santa Monica Mountains, he journeyed to Griffith Park by crossing both the 405 and 101 freeways on foot. The exhibit brings that journey, and his life today, to life with graphics, projections, photography, and video, including footage of the cougar being collared and moving through his territory at night. The content explores what P-22 eats, how he maps and marks his territory, and the survival challenges that he, and all Southern Californias mountain lions, face living in L.A.s backyard.
Joining the museums Nature Lab and the customized content in the special exhibit Extreme Mammals, The Story of P-22, L.A.s Most Famous Feline continues NHMLAs investigation of L.A.s surprising wildlife, and tells the stories of the scientists who study it. Los Angeles is a biodiversity hotspot, a place with rich species diversity that is also threatened by the expansion of the city itself, says Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHMLA President and Director. Compelling new exhibits like this one bring our guests into urban nature, help them explore what lives all around them, and most importantly, give them ways to stay connected and participate in conservation efforts after theyve left the Museum.
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. Visitors to the exhibit can hear a soundscape of Griffith Parkcreated specifically for this installation to give visitors a sense of what P-22 hears on a daily basisand interact with a topographic map of the park that highlights areas of human activity in the lions territory. There are also photos, including images from Ordeñanas own camera traps. L.A. is one of only two large metropolitan areas in the world that have a big cat species living within city limits. Its something Angelenos can take pride in, he says. We must be better neighbors to local wildlife if we want mountain lions and other urban-sensitive species to be here for future generations.
Inside the exhibition, guests also have the opportunity to learn about big cat conservation efforts in Southern California, and about how they help local mountain lions.
As a companion to The Story of P-22 and the temporary exhibition Extreme Mammals, NHMLA will delve into the topic of big cat extinction and survival in Los Angeles in a special evening lecture, Legendary Cats of Los Angeles: Extinction, Survival, and Celebrity on August 17, 2017. Featuring National Geographic wildlife photographer Steve Winter, National Park Service carnivore biologist Jeff Sikich, as well as NHMLA scientists Ordeñana and Emily Lindsey, curator of the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and moderated by Los Angeles Times writer Thomas Curwen, the lecture will explore 40,000 years of feline history in Los Angeles, from the saber-toothed cats of the past to the mountain lions of today. Guests will learn how technology has influenced the study of big cats, and how photography citizen science have impacted big cat conservation efforts in Los Angeles.