If you live in Southern California, you’ve probably heard of P-22, the lone mountain lion roaming the hills of Griffith Park. This puma has beaten the odds again and again, dodging threats ranging from rat poison to busy freeways and along the way achieving a kind of celebrity status.
P-22's unlikely story is now part of an exhibit at the Natural History Museum in L.A.’s Exposition Park. “The Story of P-22, L.A.’s Most Famous Feline” puts the spotlight on one puma's journey to overcome urban obstacles and claim his territory.
It’s a fun exhibit that makes those challenges come alive the moment you walk in. A bird’s eye view of a 10-lane freeway is projected on the floor. The cars whizzing past make you wonder how P-22 successfully crossed both the 101 and 405 freeways.
After you navigate cars on the freeway projection, you come across other challenges to P-22’s life in the park. The biggest challenge is the small size of his habitat. The tiny exhibit illustrates this literally. You learn that a typical mountain lion’s territory is 200 square miles, but P-22 only has 9 miles surrounded by urban sprawl and the 5, 101 and 134 freeways.
A Griffith Park soundscape from the exhibit gives visitors an idea of what P-22 may hear on a daily basis: