Mountain Lion Fundraiser to Host National Geographic Photographer

(The following is from a press release)

Hollywood Mike Final (1)

(credit) ‘Courtesy of Steve Winter/ National Geographic’

The Santa Monica Mountains Fund (SMMF) invites everyone who cares about wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains to an evening campfire to meet Steve Winter, the award-winning National Geographic photographer who pictured mountain lion P-22 stalking the Hollywood sign (see photo). The event take place September, 30, 5:30-9:30 p.m. at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.

Winter will show his work photographing big cats around the world. He has tracked snow leopards in Siberia, been trapped in quicksand in Myanmar on the trail of tigers and been attacked by rhinos in India. His dramatic photos of P-22, one of around 15 of cougars living in the Santa Monica mountain range that runs from Griffith Park to Point Mugu, were published to great acclaim in National Geographic December 2013, and Steve will autograph any guest’s copy.

“This is the third fundraiser organized by the SMMF to support ongoing research to sustain these majestic animals, threatened by their proximity to greater Los Angeles,” said Dennis Washburn, president of the SMMF. “Our lions inhabit the largest urban park in the world, with 17 million people living within an hour drive through urban areas and freeways that surround the mountains and fragment the space these animals need to survive. Several lions have been killed on our roads in the last few years and threaten the population,” 

Extensive research has been under way for 10 years by the National Park Service (NPS) in the Santa Monica Mountains to help understand mountain lion behavior so biologists and policy makers can plan more effectively for the conditions that will maintain their numbers in optimum health. In Calendar Year 2013, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund provided the park nearly $35,000 in direct assistance for mountain lion research, lab analyses, tracking collars and the satellite service needed to understand lion lives. 

“Without the help from the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, the research needed to conserve these animals would have been severely compromised,” said Seth Riley, NPS biologist, “The research has shown us that the constrained area in which they live is leading to inbreeding among generations. This is already having a long-term effect on the genetic health of the lions in the mountains. Further funding will allow us to upgrade the collars the lions are wearing so we can track their movements, capture unique photographic evidence like Steve Winter has done, and continue our research.” 

Calamigos Ranch is a stunning 105-acre event venue in the center of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Malibu.  The ranch, a shady vale with restaurant pavilions, campfires, waterfalls and streams, is in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. Come join us for good food, drink and great company at our Ranger Campfire at the ranch.

Reservations are required for admission to the event at $100 donation per person.  Apply for tickets by September 22 at www.samofund.org or tel.805-370-2341. Your participation will raise funds to help the National Park Service mountain lion research team in the Santa Monica Mountains.


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