12…The Urban Wildlife

When you hear the term “Urban Wildlife” you might think of pigeons, rats and a few fluffy squirrels.  But it turns out that there is a vast collection wildlife lurking around the myriad of apartment complexes and store fronts.   Los Angeles is nestled at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, the beautiful San Gabriels, and the Verdugos – home to mountain lions, coyotes, bears, raccoons, deer and other beautiful creatures.  On occasion a bear or coyote will venture down into the metropolis – in search of food or water.   In fact, coyotes, skunks and raccoons make their homes right in our cement jungle.

It is not uncommon to see a local news story of a bear swimming in a backyard pool or spotting a family of skunks parading down the sidewalk.   Aside from the contrast of seeing a coyote stroll in front of Starbucks, one of the most startling things is the size of these animals.  Living on the trash behind Barney’s Beanery and Dunkin Donuts raccoons can get massive – so massive they only recognizable by their signature markings.

“There’s often a misconception that Los Angeles is a concrete jungle, when in reality the city is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world,” Brian Brown, Head of the Natural History Museum’s Entomology Department and Curator of Entomology

Of all the wildlife in Los Angeles, P-22 is our most famous.  P-22 was discovered by USGS in 2012, and I happen to learn about P-22 living in Griffith Park a few months later.  While walking along the trail in Griffith Park near one of the tunnels under the 5 freeway I spotted a small trail camera labeled USGS – a Google search later and I discovered that Griffith Park was hosting a mountain lion.    You can read a little about P-22 here.


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