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Seth Riley, Ph.D.
Wildlife Ecologist and Branch Chief for Wildlife
National Park Service
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

To live and die in LA: challenges and opportunities in urban southern California for wildlife, from threatened red-legged frogs to mountain lions.

In the National Park Service, our mandate is to try to understand, and ultimately to preserve, the resources of the parks for future generations. At Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a national park in Los Angeles, wildlife populations and communities face some different challenges than they might in more remote parks like Yosemite or Yellowstone. We have been studying multiple communities and species in the park for more than 20 years now, including terrestrial and aquatic reptiles and amphibians and multiple mammalian carnivores, including bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions. Over these long-term studies, we have examined how these species have faced multiple stressors, often in combination, including habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, the lack of effective connectivity, exposure to toxicants, massive wildfire events, and direct conflicts with people. However, there have also been conservation successes that give us hope for the future of the park and its wildlife resources. 

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  • Mark Klitzke

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