Johanna Turner

“Cougarmagic” on Facebook and Instagram


Johanna Turner has lived in Los Angeles since July 2000. Having grown up in rural upstate New York in a family that loves animals but had no local wildlife larger than groundhogs, she was excited to move to California where mountain lions were rumored to roam. At first she thought finding a mountain lion print in the dirt while walking in these gorgeous mountains would be the ultimate discovery. However Johanna tends to take everything to extremes so hiking turned into tracking, and tracking turned into trail cameras. The goal: to finally see these beautiful creatures who live among us but remain almost mythically elusive. Now it has turned into an effort to save the species from local extinction.


She started trail camera photography in 2009 and since then has increasingly put her passion into advocacy and conservation. Donated photos have raised funds to preserve hundreds of acres of habitat for wildlife with groups including Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, Transition Habitat Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation and the National Park Service. Johanna frequently lectures on field tracking, living with wildlife, and camera trap photography. You will often see her on the local news providing commentary when one of our local mountain lions needs a public relations agent. Most recently she became an advisory committee member for Cougar Conservancy which is working to assist people with domestic animal conflicts with mountain lions.


She was selected as one of Disney Conservation Fund's 2019 "Conservation Heroes" for her work changing public perception of sharing space with large carnivores and contributed data for a study using camera traps to determine population density and habitat use of multiple species in Southern California.


Johanna is thrilled to have served as a principal photographer for the Apple TV series Earth at Night in Color, featuring urban wildlife filmed with ultra low light sensitive cameras. Work continues on a couple of National Geographic series , and is planning a second exhibit for the Santa Monica Mountains' SAMO fund at King Gillette Ranch in the fall of 2021 so stay tuned.

TYLT - My Passion

BBC Travel Show

60 Minutes