Pepperdine to Host Free Screening of ‘The Cat that Changed America’


Calling all fans of local mountain lions, wildlife crossings and co-existing with wildlife: the 2017 documentary, “The Cat that Changed America,” which tells the story of P-22—the most famous mountain lion in the world, will be shown for free on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Pepperdine University Smothers Theater. The documentary is being shown in honor of “P-22 Urban Wildlife Week.”

A reception with light refreshments and food will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. screening, and then a panel discussion and Q&A.

Mayor Skylar Peak will introduce the documentary while Rhiannon Bailard, Pepperdine University’s Center for Sustainability director, will emcee the event.

P-22 was born in the Santa Monica Mountains and crossed two of the busiest freeways in America, I-405 and I-101, before settling in Griffith Park in the middle of Los Angeles—an area that’s only about seven square miles. His new territory is surrounded by freeways and urban development.

A Pasadena review said, “While the giant cat spends his days and nights eating venison, and visiting the Hollywood sign, Forest Lawn, and even the L.A. Zoo, he is cut off from other mountain lions and potential mates.”

The film explores P-22’s plight, the need for wildlife corridors and crossings, and the possibility of developing a land bridge to be used as a wildlife crossing over the I-101 at Liberty Canyon. Such a bridge would enable local mountain lions and other wildlife to cross the highway safely as they seek their own territories and mates, increasing genetic diversity, which has dwindled because of inbreeding.

Local conservationists are trying to raise $50 million for the project, while educating the public about co-existence with wildlife and the deaths being caused by the spread of rodenticides.

The panelists that will appear in person following the screening are all featured in the film: Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California director of the National Wildlife Federation and leader of the Save LA Cougars campaign to build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing; wildlife veterinarian Dr. Duane Tom, director of wildlife care at the California Wildlife Center; and Joel and Kian Schulman of Poison Free Malibu.

Pepperdine University is located at 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy. Reserve tickets at

The event is sponsored by Poison Free Malibu, Pepperdine University and the city of Malibu.