All About P-22 at Natural History Museum Los Angeles

Los Angeles has its fair share of celebrities but perhaps none have caught the public’s attention like P-22, the Griffith Park mountain lion. Spotted for the first time in 2012 he’s made the park his home for the last few years and his knack for survival in the most difficult of circumstances has made him a favorite of Angeleno’s. To celebrate the famed cat Natural History Museum of Los Angeles debuted an exhibit entire devoted to him – The Story of P-22, L.A.’s Most Famous Feline.

photo courtesy of NHMLA

Miguel Ordeñana, the museum’s Citizen Scientist Coordinator, first discovered P-22 while assisting the U.S. Geological Survey with the Griffith Park Connectivity Study. Long rumored to inhabit the park camera’s set up by Miguel first capture the cat’s image. The presence of P-22 makes Los Angeles only the second city (next to Mumbai) to have a large carnivore within its city limits and serves as a reminder of the presence of urban wildlife.

Since his discovery P-22 has been continuously studied in an effort to understand and conserve our urban mountain lions. The results of these studies form the basis of the very informative exhibit.

Through several interactive features we learn all about P-22 and his compact habitat. Born west of the 405 he managed to cross both that and the 101 freeway to make his home in Griffith Park. Through this he managed to survive a risky passage that has claimed numerous big cat lives.

Since his arrival in the park he’s had his fair share of adventures both positive and negative. He once had a wild night in the LA Zoo resulting in the slaughter of a koala but he also has eaten poison contaminated raccoons resulting in a potentially deadly case of mange.

Through it all he has survived, and continues to survive, in the most unlikely of settings. His existence is heartrendingly admiral as it reminds one of the tenuous relationship between nature and the city. All alone he travels the park hemmed in by freeways with no mate and the sounds of the city surrounding him.

Soundscape by Chris Candelaria, NHMLA Media Technician
The Story of P-22, L.A.’s Most Famous Feline is located just outside the nature lab and is a wonderful addition the museum. It’s the perfect opportunity for Angeleno’s of all ages to learn about one of the city’s most special residents and what we can do to protect him and all urban wildlife.

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