The National Wildlife Federation and its partners will celebrate mountain lion P-22, a Los Angeles icon, with a series of events this October 16-22. P-22 made a remarkable solo journey across two of the busiest freeways in America, becoming a local superstar in the process.
As part of the inaugural Urban Wildlife Week and P-22 Day Festival, a diverse team of environmental advocates, scientists and leaders will retrace P-22’s historic 40-mile trek from the Santa Monica Mountains to his new home in Griffith Park. This unique wildlife walk, led by the Federation’s California Director Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, will showcase how Los Angeles is demonstrating worldwide leadership in urban wildlife conservation and point out vital connections that are still needed for both wildlife and people along the way. Pratt-Bergstrom will carry a life-size P-22 cutout and wear an actual mountain lion tracking collar so that people can follow her journey virtually via www.urbanwildlifeweek.org. Residents and businesses along the route are encouraged to come cheer on the hikers.
“We’re excited to launch Urban Wildlife Week with public and private events provided in partnership with our Presenting Sponsor, the Annenberg Foundation,” Pratt-Bergstrom said. “The series seeks to engage all Angelenos in a celebration of the region as one of the most diverse and exciting urban wildlife habitats in the country.” Residents and visitors alike will learn how they can co-exist with their wild neighbors, including P-22 and other mountain lions. “Urban Wildlife Week and the P-22 Day Festival are community engagement components of the Federation’s larger #SaveLACougars initiative that is helping to promote public awareness and secure funding for the proposed wildlife crossing in Agoura Hills,” Pratt-Bergstrom added. Events planned during the series include:
• Urban wildlife kickoff event in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
• Four-day wildlife walk (Oct 19-22) starting at the site of the proposed wildlife crossing that will physically and virtually trace the likely 40-mile path that P-22 took in leaving his birthplace in the Santa Monica Mountains to reach his current home in Griffith Park.
• P-22 Day and Urban Wildlife Festival, a free, day-long event in Griffith Park featuring interactive exhibits about urban wildlife in the region as well as children’s activities, musical and dance performances, Ranger Rick and P-22 cutout photo opportunities, art contests, gardening demonstrations and more.
• Crowdfunding initiative in support of #SaveLACougars to help fund the construction of what will be the largest wildlife crossing in the world at Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills.
Many organizations are celebrating alongside the Annenberg Foundation, including partners in the events: the City of Los Angeles, National Park Service, Office of Senator Pavley Friends of Griffith Park, Santa Monica Mountains Fund, City of Calabasas, Office of Assembly Member Richard Bloom, Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory, LAUSD, City of Agoura Hills, Mia Lehrer & Associates, Grown in LA, Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority, City of Thousand Oaks, Friends of Los Angeles River, Caltrans, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and many more.
“It’s easy to think of Los Angeles as a concrete jungle. The truth is, we’re home to one of the most richly diverse ecosystems in the entire world. If you care about conservation, as I do—if you believe this Earth is a precious and interconnected resource, for all of us to share—then you ought to care about urban wildlife here in L.A. and around the world,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “We need to do more to protect our mountain lion population, to help them breed and thrive. We need to establish more and better wildlife crossings, which can save entire species from extinction. And we need to use the extraordinary story of P-22 to help all the people of L.A. realize that this community is not ours alone. I’m proud we’re helping to present this celebration of P-22 and of urban wildlife as a whole—for the good of every living creature who calls L.A. home.” For more information on P-22 Day and Urban Wildlife Week as well as an updated events schedule and wildlife hike map, visit www.urbanwildlifeweek.org (#urbanwildlifeweek). For more information on #SaveLACougars, go to www.savelacougars.org.