Friday, October 21, 2016

Los Angeles: Urban Wildlife Week, P-22 Day!

Casey Schreiner (, Oct. 7, 2016); Xochitl, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
Beth Pratt-Bergstrom is the California Director of the National Wildlife Federation and one of the driving forces behind L.A.’s upcoming Urban Wildlife Week (Oct.16-22) that culminates in Griffith Park for P-22 Day, in honor of its resident celebrity mountain lion.
Finally, one of us gets a day of our own! got a chance to chat with Beth over the phone during a rare bit of downtime in the lead  up to this incredible event. The following responses have been slightly edited for conciseness and clarity.

Urban Wildlife Week, P-22 Day coming to L.A.
When Mountain Lions...
Modern Hiker: What inspired Urban Wildlife Week?
Beth Pratt-Bergstrom: P-22 Day and Urban Wildlife Week were some of the first things I started working on in the Santa Monica Mountains with the NPS and other partners, because P-22 has really captured my imagination both personally and from a wildlife conservation perspective.

I always had it in my head I wanted to retrace his route. That idea just kept sitting there and sitting there and as we got more and more into our work in Los Angeles, he came to symbolize not just this call for a crossing at Liberty Canyon but connectivity throughout the whole city.
The great megalopolis of Los Angeles home to 10 million and its native wildlife (wiki)
That’s what this hike and event are really about. Obviously we’re trying to call attention to the visionary wildlife crossing we’re trying to build -- which will be the biggest in the world -- but it’s also about showing connectivity or lack thereof.
Near the Hollywood sign: Celebrate P22 Day!
What these hikes have shown us -- and this was no big surprise -- is that there are some points where connectivity is great like the Backbone Trail...and then there are some points where there’s terrible connectivity like along Mulholland Drive where there aren’t even sidewalks! I mean there are beautiful parks along that street but it’s hard to connect to them -- for both wildlife and people.
This event has turned into more than just re-tracing the cat’s route, but that’s where it started.
Where are Los Angeles' wildcats? (
I have to say after doing it -- as someone who’s written a book about this cat’s travels -- after having hiked it I am more impressed this mountain lion made it at all. It is ASTOUNDING he was able to make it to Griffith Park. More

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