Editorial: If we want wildlife to thrive in L.A., we have to share our neighborhoods with them
When I was growing up in California, the neighborhood I would return to each night was usually the same one. It shared my street, or more often, a neighbor’s. And while I was a proud city boy, I also believed my home should be as close as possible to nature, as a child of the American West who loved to explore nature in its natural state, not in a forest or preserve or zoo. And so when I was a boy, this was a neighborhood that included bison in the same area around my childhood home on Crenshaw Boulevard, and elk in the adjacent area — both just off my street, on the other side of a two-lane highway — and a place called Oak Knoll Park where elk once grazed with a large community of black bears, and a lake where wolves once hunted the carcasses of beavers, black bears and other animals.
This was my first introduction to what I now know to be a community of wildlife, and it was a community whose neighborhood shared the same streets we now share, like a neighborhood in New Orleans that includes a lake where a pod of dolphins once swam, or a neighborhood in Austin where horses once grazed, or a neighborhood in New York City that now includes a pond where brown pelicans float.
When we talk about the “urban wildlife” living in every neighborhood, what we really mean are these neighborhoods, and their animals that share our yards or sidewalks or streets, and their rivers and streams and lakes and open spaces.
But let’s be real: Most of these habitat corridors aren’t shared by every person, and especially not all of us, like the neighborhoods of the world that share our streets and yards and sidewalks. So you might not live on a street that includes an urban wildlife corridor. But you can take advantage of that neighborhood wildlife corridor.
A year ago, in a blog post called “The Neighborhood Wildlife Corridor,” I wrote about the shared wildlife habitat in my neighborhood, the neighborhoods around me and the wildlife that shared our yards or streets or sidewalks, in this post entitled, “Culver City wildlife.”
And in the following week’s story, the community-written piece titled “Fishing the river�