GLENDORA (CBSLA) — Every year, thousands of people flock to the trails in the San Gabriel Mountains for a quick escape from the city, but how many really see what’s lurking between the trees or on the forest floor?
Wildlife photographer Robert Martinez has seen it all while documenting the day-to-day life of the animal kingdom.
“In the last eight years, I’ve captured pretty much everything that roams the forest,” he said. “I’ve watched mountain lions raise their kittens and watch the kittens disperse.”
Martinez has about 20 motion-activated cameras placed all throughout the Angeles National Forest, and said once he captured his first up close and personal images of a mountain lion, he was hooked.
“I’ve been intrigued by mountain lions my entire life since I was a little kid,” he said.
And he’s been sharing those experiences on his YouTube channel.
Recently, he captured a stunning battle for survival between a bobcat and a rattlesnake.
“It was really a nail biting kind of video,” he said. “Watching it for the first time, it was really nerve-wracking.”
Ultimately, the bobcat won — taking a victory roll over his kill before carrying it off for dinner.
Martinez hopes his videos will help people feel connected to animals in the wild without encroaching on their territory and maybe even feel compelled to help preserve their natural habitats.
“Once I caught that first lion video, the obsession really took off,” he said. “And in the last eight years, I’ve seen more than I ever thought would be possible, and it’s just an ongoing learning experience.”