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'Urban Carnivores' Exhibit Debuts at Venice Art Gallery

The newest G2 Gallery exhibit features playful shots of bobcats, but prompts a serious discussion about urbanization's impact on felines.

Google "How to remove a dead bobcat in Santa Monica" and Laurel Serieys' name pops up.

That exact Google search was how Venice G2 Gallery owner Susan Gottlieb first met Serieys, a UCLA graduate student who is currently researching the effects of urbanization on bobcats.

Gottlieb contacted Serieys after discovering an emaciated, dead bobcat in her backyard. Serieys, who collects samples of decaying felines for her research, visited Gottlieb and recovered the bobcat, but not without sharing some colorful photos of bobcats with the gallery owner.

A few of those photographs are now on display in the "Urban Carnivores" exhibit at Gottlieb's nature and wildlife gallery on Abbott Kinney.

The images, shot by photographer Barry Rowan, document the daily life of a bobcat and her two offspring in a Santa Barbara park. Serieys said the exhibit is a platform to discuss how certain human behaviors, such as the domestic use of rat poison, are harming the bobcat population.

"I usually do talks on the effects of rat poison on wildlife, how animals' immune systems are weakened after eating poisoned small mammals," Serieys said. "But I think people need something beautiful to connect with that message, and hopefully these photos will help with that."

The exhibit is also another avenue to raise funds for her research into the link between rat poison and bobcats' susceptibility to certain kinds of disease, in particular, mange, a skin disease caused by a parasitic mite. So far, her research indicates that bobcats are nine times more likely to die of mange if they also have rat poison in their systems.

About 300 bobcats reside in the Santa Monica Mountains, but Serieys said the dense habitat makes them a rare sight for residents or hikers familiar with the area.

"Most people in Los Angeles don't see bobcats, so this is a picture of what's out there," she said. "Even if we don't see them, we can appreciate their beauty and understand that what we do at home affects wildlife."

G2 Gallery is located at 1503 Abbott Kinney Boulevard. The exhibition runs through Sept. 16. A reception for the exhibition will be held Saturday, Aug. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Please RSVP on the gallery website.

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