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Humans are visitors among native Southern California wildlife, which occupies a lot of territory

The highest point of land in Orange County sits 5,690 feet above sea level overlooking about 948 square miles of mountains, canyons, hills, wetlands, flatlands and the coast. The 40 mile-long coastline is festooned with placid, secret coves with sultry tide pools brimming with life, estuaries, wetlands and sprawling, yacht-infested harbors. It’s a star-studded show if ever there was one.

Photo Credit: David Ohman

Despite all of the agriculture and the development that replaced most of it, Southern California’s geology has always been, with the exception of the Ice Age, defined as a coastal desert that if supplied with just enough water, anything will take root. And holding its own, against all odds, is an extraordinary collection of wildlife. They swim, fly, leap, pounce, hop, crawl, run, slither, crawl, screech, howl, growl, squeak and grunt, each in their own unique way. Some hunt, others are hunted and they occupy a huge, living diorama co-starring countless species.

Orange County is more than lattes, boats, surfing or golf. Southern California in general, and Orange County in particular, is home to a lavish collection of animal life, on land and sea, demanding our admiration, respect, and protection in perpetuity. Love and appreciate them will all your heart. Just don’t crowd them to extinction.

Click here to read the next installment of Guests Among Wildlife. 

About the Author

David Ohman is the former Editor and Creative Director for Coastkeeper Magazine. He is now living in Denver, Colo., where he works as a freelance photojournalist and feature writer.