Saving the Mountain Lions of Los Angeles
I am passionate about animals. There, I said it. I love all animals, not just the dogs and cats I regularly care for. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my and elephants, too. Elephants are a big one for me because I am devastated by news of them being hunted and killed for their ivory. My greatest wish is to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary and work hands-on caring for them. But recently, the plight of another species has come to my attention and this one is hits real close to home. In fact, it’s in my own back yard. I am talking about none other than our own Los Angeles Cougars.
You see, cougars need lots of space to roam, approximately 250 square miles and that’s per one male, typically. When the cougars run out of space, which they have, they attempt to find more space. And because they can’t just call up a realtor, they have been trying to find space by traveling up and down the available Los Angeles mountain ranges, only there is a huge problem preventing them from getting to more space. Freeways. Freeways are preventing these animals from getting to new territory, which is leading to the degradation of their gene pool and to their fatalities while attempting to cross.
All this is leading up to that on Monday afternoon I had the pleasure, (along with my husband, (I just like saying that) to attend a talk given by Beth Pratt. Beth works for the National Wildlife Federation and is on the #SaveLACougars Campaign Advisory Team.
Beth was here in Calabasas educating attendees about an initiative to build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing. The Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing Initiative provides a solution to animals and wildlife trapped by urbanization. This wildlife bridge would connect the Santa Monica Mountain range with the Simi Valley Mountains and beyond giving the animal a safe passage to larger areas in which to roam, mate and live out their lives.
Well it just so happens that the LCWC is right down the street where I live and I could not be more excited or supportive of it.
In Beth’s words:
“These mountain lions live on an urbanized island, a small population isolated because the dangerous freeways do not allow them the room to roam. Let’s get them off an island and give them a future before they die out.”
Beth is essentially talking about connectivity. Connecting the mountain ranges to each other so the animals can safely cross but more than that, connecting us to the animals. Connecting us to the natural landscape and connecting us to each other. In a world of digitalization and technology, what we seek and need most to survive is the very same thing the animals need. Connectedness.
What a fantastic legacy for our children if instead of just seeing new shopping centers and condominiums here in beautiful Agoura Hills, we build this wildlife bridge. Wouldn’t it be great to know the population of the cougars increased because of this action we as humans took. Bridges like this one, the Liberty Canyon Wildlife bridge have been successfully constructed all over the world so why not here?
Beth tells me the funds are still being raised for the bridge but they are hoping to break ground in 2021. That seems like a long time for a cougar to wait to get to the other side of a freeway. Let’s try and make it happen faster, if you’re interested in helping you can donate here www.savelacougars.org. Please share this and use the hashtag #SaveLACougars in your social media post to raise awareness about saving these beautiful creatures.
Here I am with a near life size cutout of P-22, He’s the lonely cougar living in Griffith Park, trapped on all sides by freeways with a measly 4300 acres to roam. P-22 rose to fame when he was discovered by a wildlife camera and then rose to infamy when he ate a koala bear in the zoo. He has garnered international attention as the plight of the LA cougars has made world news headlines.