We’ve all heard there is a cougar in Griffith Park – familiar hiking territory for many Larchmont area residents who like the short drive to relative wilderness. But it was all kind of hard to believe. How would a cougar get there over the freeways, and how would it possibly survive once stuck in the midst of the wild kingdom of Los Angeles?
A new series of shots from National Geographic photographer Steven Winter shows the stealthy cat, dubbed “P-22” appears to be alive and healthy living somewhere behind the dry shrubs and canyons so familiar to those who hike below the Hollywood sign. This particular photograph took more than a year to capture via a hidden “trail cam” and a long exposure that makes it appear that the Hollywood sign is lit. Winter describes it in an interview on KPCC.org:
“On the Hollywood sign, it’s a 4-second exposure. He does not stop, he doesn’t care about the flash or anything,” said Winter. “He walks by, the camera stays open and is exposing the sign. Luckily we had fog that night because the sign is not lit and the light from the city is bouncing off the clouds and is lighting the letters of Hollywood.”
For the record, a cougar (Puma concolor) can also be called a puma, a mountain lion and a panther.
Check out the complete article about cougars in the latest edition of “National Geographic”, as well as the interview with Winter on KPCC. It’s fascinating to think what may be living and lurking, just out of sight in LA’s backyard playground.
National Geographic: Ghost Cats
Larchmont Buzz: Wild Puma Captured and Released in Griffith Park