Scientists at UC Santa Cruz will use state-of-the-art GPS to scrutinize mountain lion behavior
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will soon begin satellite tracking of mountain lions traversing the Santa Cruz Mountains, in an attempt to learn more about the big cats’ behavior as human development expands into their habitats, the university announced this week.
The Bay Area Puma Project — a 3-year pilot study conducted by the university in partnership with the Marin County-based Felidae Conservation Fund and the state Department of Fish and Game — will attach collars with Global Positioning System devices to up to five of the felines, tracking their movements and hunting locations.
Researchers hope to discover how mountain lions, which can have ranges up to 500 square miles per individual, navigate increasingly developed areas, between mountain ranges and across state highways.
Eventually, they hope to be able to assess the puma’s vulnerability to habitat disturbance and environmental change, and how to minimize conflict with humans.
The researchers said they plan to expand the study later into the North Bay and Diablo Mountain range in the East Bay.
PREVIOUS MOUNTAIN LION STUDIES
The Double Lives of Suburban Mountain Lions (aka cougars, pumas, catamounts)
“The Southern California Puma Project” was a long-term research study conducted by UC Davis for California State Parks in and around Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego County. 20 mountain lions were tracked for three to 27 months from March 2001 through Dec. 2003. You can read more about this fascinating report at
It’s about time they started taking some really sophisticated looks at these big predatory cats. As more and more of their wild habitat is being used up by us greedy humans, the chance for human/lion encounters increases accordingly.
We need to start learning how to live with our wild neighbors without killing them just because we happen to see them out for an evening stroll. /Gary