Last Friday the Natural History Museum of LA opened a new installment featuring everyone’s favorite cat, P-22. The mountain lion, which is also referred to as a cougar or puma, was first spotted on a wildlife camera trap by NHMLA’s current Citizen Science Coordinator Miguel Ordeñana in 2012. It was an amazing discovery because there were no mountain lions in Griffith Park. Ever since, P-22 has become is the animal version of Jim Carrey in “The Truman Show.”
P-22 came from the western Santa Monica mountains searching for territory to call his own. He apparently crossed two freeways to make it to Griffith Park, one of the rare places in our city with sufficient prey, particularly deer. Although he has everything he needs, his territory is small by mountain lion standards, and it is doubtful he will be able to find a mate with all of the other mountain lions living beyond the ever-developing city and the freeway traffic.
The installation at NHMLA explores his journey, his challenges, and the various ways P-22 has been able to survive in Griffith Park, using graphics, projections, photography, a specially designed soundscape, a topographical map and video. The new P-22 installation will be a part of the special NHMLA exhibit, “Extreme Mammals,” which focuses on “L.A.’s surprising wildlife, and tells the stories of the scientists who study it.” Besides education, the museum hopes to encourage people to contribute to the conservation efforts and learn how to help local mountain lions (Check out this wildlife crossing).
Admission to this special exhibition is included with General Museum Admission (P-22 is included, but Extreme Mammals has a small extra charge and requires timed tickets). Don’t miss the companion lecture, “Legendary Cats of Los Angeles: Extinction, Survival, and Celebrity” from 6pm – 9″30pm on August 17, 2017. “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.” Tickets to the lecture are $5 for members and $10 for non-members.