The December cover of National Geographic.

The December cover of National Geographic.

If you’ve hiked in Los Angeles, you’ve probably been on the lookout for mountain lions. Also known as cougars, the cats are actually pretty hard to find. Photographer Steve Winter teamed up with biologist Jeff Sikich in LA. Together they figured out a way to photograph the cats for a series called Ghost Cats, which appears in the December issue of National Geographic. The ultimate goal was to capture a cougar in the same frame as the Hollywood sign. Mission accomplished. Below, Warren talk to Winter about his project.

Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic A hidden camera records Hollywood’s most reclusive star—this male cougar first seen in Griffith Park in Los Angeles almost two years ago. A radio collar tracks his moves, but residents see scant sign of him.

A hidden camera records Hollywood’s most reclusive star—this male cougar first seen in Griffith Park in Los Angeles almost two years ago. A radio collar tracks his moves, but residents see scant sign of him. Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic

Photographed on a ridge above Los Angeles, a male cougar labeled P22 made his way from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park—an island of habitat surrounded by homes and highways.

Photographed on a ridge above Los Angeles, a male cougar labeled P22 made his way from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park—an island of habitat surrounded by homes and highways. Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic

Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic Perched atop dinner, this four-month-old kitten survived a wolf attack that killed two littermates, earning her the nickname bestowed by Teton Cougar Project researchers: Lucky.

Perched atop dinner, this four-month-old kitten survived a wolf attack that killed two littermates, earning her the nickname bestowed by Teton Cougar Project researchers: Lucky. Photo by Steve Winter/National Geographic

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  • Conrad

    El gatito es muy grande! Pretty amazing.

  • Bob Mc

    Wow! Great photos, and a great interview that also dispels myths about mountain lions stalking people as a food source. Scientists have studied cougars' use of habited areas along the Wildlands-Urban Interface in areas along the I-90 corridor just east of Seattle, Washington, and learned that cougars spend about 17% of their time on the urban side of the interface. A local article about the study is located here: http://www.issaquahpress.com/2011/08/02/issaquah-

    California leads the nation in protecting these magnificent cats, but still needs more effort to protect their wildlife corridors and habitat. Washington State is probably a leader in research on cougars, but needs do a better job protecting them and their habit, too. Websites such as Mountain Lion Foundation's, and Urban Carnivores' can teach you more about these elusive animals, as well as provide links to articles and scientific papers.

    Thank you KCRW for this fascinating interview!

  • ShawnVW

    Did this four-month kitten bring down an eight-point buck by herself?_

    • howie

      That is a bull elk, not a buck(male deer).

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