Support Santa Monica Mountains’ Dwindling Bobcat Population

On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, The Venice, California G2 Gallery will premiere the new exhibit Urban Carnivores, a collaboration between biologist Laurel Klein Serieys and photographer Barry

Santa Monica Bobcat Photo Courtesy Barry Rowan

Rowan.

The exhibit focuses on bobcats, one of the largest carnivores in the Santa Monica Mountains’ ecosystem where an estimated population of about 300 faces pressures associated with expanding urbanization. As their territory becomes more and more fragmented by urban infrastructure, a mange epidemic is claiming the lives of this elusive feline, putting their species in an increasingly vulnerable position.

Alarmed by her findings working with the National Parks Service, UCLA-based bobcat researcher Laurel Klein Serieys started Urban Carnivores, a website dedicated to documenting the spread of mange and the lives it claims while raising awareness about the human effects that contribute to Urban Carnivores the disease and the overall weakening of the bobcat population. The main factors Klein attributes to the decline in bobcat health are territorial fragmentation due to urbanization and the domestic use of rat poison. The latter is thought to make the bobcats more susceptible to mange, a completely

Santa Monica Bobcat Photo Courtesy Barry Rowan

treatable but potentially deadly disease which has been on the rise among the bobcats Klein is tracking.

To alert the public about our ever present but rarely seen feline neighbors, Klein partnered with photographer Barry Rowan and The G2 Gallery to mount Urban Carnivores, an exhibit that depicts a mother bobcat and her kittens in a Santa Barbara park. Klein hopes that the images will have an impact on awareness of these large cats, and argues that “if we don’t preserve biodiversity in urban areas where are we going to preserve it?”

A reception for the Urban Carnivores exhibit will be held on Saturday, August 11, from 6:30– 9:00 pm. A $5 admission at the door will directly support Klein’s work to preserve and protect bobcats.

Bobcat Baby and Mom Courtesy Barry Rowan

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