P-22: The Journey Invites Contemplation about L.A’s Big Cats

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Wildlife activists Sherry Mangel-Ferber, Calandra Cherry, and Kathi Colman came together over their concern for the plight of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. Their commitment to the project to build a wildlife overpass over the 101 freeway to save the big cats from local extinction, has become a book.

Inspired by P-22, the mountain lion who successfully navigated L.A. freeways and urban interface from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park, the trio decided to create a book.

P-22: The Journey chronicles the eponymous cat’s journey across one of the most densely populated cities in the world to reach Griffith Park. Authors Mangel-Ferber and Cherry have written a poetic account of the journey from the big cat’s perspective. Colman illustrated the book with a dreamlike combination of her original oil paintings of mountain lions and digital backgrounds.

“I taught myself digital painting for this project,” Colman told the Messenger Mountain News at a book signing event for the new publication.

Mangel-Ferber, a retired teacher who lives in Liberty Canyon, and Cherry, who works for the Los Angeles Zoo, have based their narrative on research conducted by biologists for the National Park Service (NPS) and other researchers.

The book concludes with an interview with NPS biologist and mountain lion researcher Jeff Sikich. There is also an essay by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles wildlife biologist Miguel Ordeñana, the first person to verify the presence of P-22 in Griffith Park, as well as some thoughts from Steve Winter, the National Geographic photographer who captured the now-iconic image of P-22 with the Hollywood sign in the background.

The authors and illustrator created the book to appeal to all ages. While it is an ideal picture book for children, it is also a coffee table book that invites deeper contemplation.

“It started as an educational tool,” Mangel-Ferber said in an earlier phone interview. “It became an amazing art book.”

“With the loss of P-55 and the birth of new baby P’s there is no better time to discuss how to ensure these cats survive and thrive from the wildlife crossing to the development of land they call their home,” a press release for the project states.

P-22: The Journey is available from Amazon and will be on sale at this year’s P-22 Day. The book costs $25, with proceeds going to support the #savelacougars campaign.


For more information: ghostcatpublications@aol.com


Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at suzanne@messengermountainnews.com

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