The “City of Angels” is a Fact for Our Wild Friends


The “City of Angels” is a Fact for Our Wild Friends

by Amy Lignor


It’s called the City of Angels. The title makes some laugh out loud when they think of the violence, driving, and other negatives that are focused upon by the media when speaking about Los Angeles. But a new book has just hit the market that opens up all new doors, proving that where both Los Angeles and the entirety of California are concerned, those angels actually do exist.

Angels, California, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, Meatball the bear, P-22, learn about wildlife, stunning, heartfelt, educational,factual bookAuthor Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, a woman who has worked in environmental leadership roles for more than twenty-five years and is now the California Director for the National Wildlife Federation, has released a stunning, heartfelt, educational and factual book entitled: “When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working it Out in California.” This is not just a celebration of wildlife, although it does your heart good to read these stories and learn about the work humans are doing in order to save their “wild” friends; but it is also absolute proof that humans and animals can live together, in peace, without bringing out the guns and taking out species simply because someone has an “issue” with them.

For those who are unaware, a mountain lion at only two-years-old came upon the city of Los Angeles. P-22, which is what the world now calls him, left his Santa Monica Mountain home when it was time to secure his own territory. He made his way through Beverly Hills and Bel Air, across horrific highways like the 101 (thankfully, uninjured by frightened humans or bad drivers) to set up house at Griffith Park, which is just ten miles away from a major tourist attraction. Did humans go out with guns to take P-22 out? No. They not only accepted the mountain lion but, from museums to volunteers to groups like the Friends of Griffith Park, they work hard to make sure P-22 is safe. They are also working to build the largest wildlife crossing in the world in one of the largest urban areas in the country.

But that’s not the only tale to be told. Meatball, the Glendale, California bear, is another beloved wildlife project where humans became angels to a creature who really needed some. Known as “Meatball” because of this bear’s need for Costco meatballs, he was first caught on tape by a live news helicopter while the black bear startled an unsuspecting resident texting on his phone. Meatball did nothing bad, mind you, his likes just happen to be human food (a little Italian is nothing to be slighted for) and lounging in backyard hot tubs. Instead of going all crazy about the black bear, the residents of Glendale took to him kindly. They raised money for Meatball to have a bigger enclosure at his new home in San Diego County – the animal sanctuary Lions, Tigers & Bears. And, because of Meatball’s influence, Glendale residents became dedicated to being good neighbors to all wildlife.


One of the most disheartening pictures in this book comes with a fantastically loving tale. Starving sea lion pups started to appear in California frequently – they became stranded on the beaches in record-breaking numbers. Warmer waters were blamed for the lessened food availability for the new mothers and newly-weaned pups. There was even one sea lion by the name of Rubbish, who was caught in a photograph with his head resting on the curb of a sidewalk on a busy street. Poor Rubbish was exhausted, and how he crossed the area without getting run over by a car is an absolute miracle. He and a pup named Percevero, who actually was saved by a park ranger after crossing a four-lane road, became the poster children to save the poor sea lions.


The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito now cares all year for the thousands of starving sea lions that continue to appear. Starting their quest to save these creatures with only “kiddie pools, garden hoses” and the hope that they could do it, the Center has now grown into being one of the world’s largest rehab facilities. They have treated over twenty thousand marine mammals discovered across more than six hundred miles of California coastline. More than a thousand volunteers allow the Center to be able to rescue and treat this many, proving that the citizens and the entire community want nothing more than to live peacefully beside their “wild” friends.


The Urban Coyote is another tale wrapped around a photograph of a coyote wandering around a California community. Like the wolf, this is an animal highly beloved and praised by Native Americans, yet is a symbol of fear for many, even though attacks made by a coyote on pets or humans are extremely rare. Project Coyote was begun to help people better understand a very misunderstood creature. Offering innovative programs like Coyote Friendly Communities, this group recently worked with the City of Calabasas to stop their spending of $30,000 a year for coyote “removal.” Because of this work, which included demonstrations on how the coyote is an ally when it comes to rodent control, the city council passed a resolution prohibiting paying out money on trapping coyotes. Instead, they are educating their residents on how to easily and kindly coexist with their coyote friends.


California is doing far more, and this amazing book will tell you all about everything from the saving of Bighorn Sheep to providing a safe haven for egrets. Over the coming months you will learn more about work being done in Santa Clara, the Silicon Valley, San Jose, San Francisco and other California communities working diligently, using all their devotion and passion to wildlife to show the rest of the world that animals and humans can coexist. We must all learn that wildlife should be listed among friends and neighbors; we do not have to live as enemies.


To learn more about this book as well as the amazing California communities and their work, you can find author Beth Pratt at; on Facebook at bethpratt1, or on Twitter at @bethpratt.

Source:  Baret News

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