When I headed out on a scorching warm LA day (106 high!) to Griffith Park’s Greek Theatre last weekend, I knew that I would be in for some great music from The Danish Film Harmonics’ and Film composer, Jacob Groth, but, no idea how much appreciation I would gain for the park’s wild life.
As we entered the Fandango VIP lounge, I admit I jumped back a bit when I saw a life-size, life-like cut out of a mountain lion, on hand for a cute photo opp. As we enjoyed our drinks and Nordic cuisine, we took in the sights and scenery that is irresistible when you go to Griffith Park. Even the heat had subsided, and it was quite easy to wonder just how close you are to a wild animal. One thing is for sure, they must hear some great live music every summer! 😉
The performance began with a beautiful local choir performance, then we were introduced to some of the “friends” that make up The Friends of Griffith Park. Remember that mountain lion cut out that scared me at the reception? Well, turns out that is no other than the infamous, P22.
Sounding like something straight out of a Walt Disney Presents episode (anyone remember Country Coyote goes Hollywood?!), this mountain lion was first spotted in Griffith Park in 2012 while researchers at the park were using thirteen remote cameras at potential wildlife corridors across the Hollywood Freeway/Cahuenga Pass area which divides Griffith Park and contiguous wildlife habitat from the rest of the Santa Monica Mountains.
More research determined that P22 had made this seemingly inconceivable journey to Griffith Park from Santa Monica!
Usually, mountain lions would NOT select somewhere as metropolis as Griffith Park’s neighborhood, Los Feliz, to set up shop. With welcome arms from the biologists and the rest of the Parks and Rec staff, P22 has definitely become quite the celebrity and reason for the critical research conducted by The Friends of Griffith Park.
Able to temporarily capture him, P22 was given a tracker collar so his whereabouts can be monitored. While some may frown upon this, it actually is a GOOD thing as P22 caught a near fatal infection awhile back and required medical care after he consumed pest poison in the neighborhood. This is one of the friends biggest concerns and what they are advocating: Co-existing with the urban and wild lives.
Griffith Park is an escape for visitors and Angelino’s alike. Smack in the middle of LA, you can hike the trails, stroll Fern Dell and visit the observatory. Hundreds of acres have made this an oasis for wild life. Yet, with homes and traffic jams just minutes from the haven, it can be hard to have the urban co-exist with the wild life.
While P22 is fine and well (and roaming as I type I am sure!), I was saddened to learn that in easily fifty years mountain lions could be extinct if not for the efforts of people like The Friends of Griffith Park are doing.
This fabulous introduction led us to an hour-long performance from Jacob Groth and The Danish Film Harmonic. Groth has composed for several Danish films and is probably best known for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Seeing glimpses from these films as the performers played tracks from them added to the rousing performance!
On October 22nd, The Friends have declared it P22 Day and will have a festival to celebrate and bring awareness to the urban wild life. Learn how to create Certified Wildlife Habitats in your own backyard, school or business.
John Griffith of the California Conservation Corps will lead his famous BioBlitz Dance with crew members on the stage, and staff from the Natural History Museum will participate in recording wildlife sightings during the day.
And, Ranger Rick and P22 will both be making appearances, along with several other celebrities and TBA guests. Make your plans to attend HERE!
A big thank you to the friends for having me, and I hope to see you to celebrate P22 on October 22nd! xo