Into the Wild: The Search For L.A.’s Spirit Animal

Local wildlife experts debate which animal represents us best

At Zocalo’s “Does Los Angeles Appreciate Its Wild Animals?” event last Friday in Grand Park, author Kathryn Bowers sat down with Yosemite-based environmentalist Beth Pratt, wildlife services officer Gregory Randall, and the Natural History Museum’s project assistant Lila Higgins to discuss the “bio-diversity” of Los Angeles. The panelists mused about feeding coyotes (don’t do it!), planting gardens (do it!), and whether or not spiders belong on Another revelation? The fact that there are still new species being discovered in our city. Higgins described an encounter she had with a Southern Flat Coil Snail, the first of its kind to be seen here in Los Angeles. At the start of the event Bauers asked the audience to think about which animal should be the city’s unofficial mascot, then took suggestions at the end. Here are our favorites from the crowd: a raccoon, the Pacific Chorus Frog, a parrot, Harvester Ants, and P-22, the mountain lion who lives in Griffith Park.

We also have a few of our own ideas about who should be representing us from the animal kingdom:

The Coyote
Though Looney Tunes‘ Wile E. Coyote is a blood-thirsty, TNT-wielding hound, in real life the coyote wants to live peacefully, yearning to share the land without any face-offs (or ammunition from ACME).

Meatball the Bear
He’s technically from Glendale, but we’ve never turned our noses up at the Valley. Plus, Meatball has his own Twitter account and he will be starring in the Glendale Rose Parade on his own float.

Yasiel Puig
OK, so the slugger is technically human, but have you seen him hit one out of the park? That Dodger is a beast.