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Coyotes-Wolves-Cougars.blogspot.com

Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"The gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis, is the Jack Russell terrier of the bird world"................. "It’s smart, brazen, and attracted to people"................The gray jay lives year round in the spruce-fir forests of Canada and the northern U.S"................. "It’s a member of the corvid (crow) family, but even compared to its not-so-bashful blue jay and black crow cousins, this bird has a bold personality"......................"An omnivore if there ever was one, the gray jay has learned to associate humans with food. Barnard’s observations suggest adults teach their young to panhandle"................... "And they learn quickly"............... "No one knows when this started – perhaps when the first humans came across the Bering land bridge, they were met by a gray jay asking, “you want to share that mastodon meat?”-----Joe Rankin writes about forestry and nature from his home in central Maine

Gray Jays: Birds With Attitude

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Illustration by Adelaide Tyrol
I have friends who live in the North Woods. Moose graze on their lawn. Loons call from the pond. And the gray jays line up on the deck railing for breakfast. They swoop in when they hear the coffeemaker rev up, knowing that my friend Pam will soon be out to feed them. If she isn’t quick enough, they start pecking at the window.
The gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis, is the Jack Russell terrier of the bird world. It’s smart, brazen, and attracted to people.
“It’s a fun bird to study,” said William Barnard, a biology professor at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, who has observed gray jays for about a quarter century, mostly at Victory Bog in the state’s Northeast Kingdom. Barnard is one of only a handful of scientists in North America who study the species. He’s banded 147 gray jays, outfitted 35 with radio tags to track them. He has discovered a lot about the bird, including how to determine gender by wing length. However, he still has many questions to answer, including why the Victory Bog jays appear to be bigger than those he’s studied elsewhere, and why they have fewer blood parasites.
The gray jay lives year round in the spruce-fir forests of Canada and the northern U.S. It’s a member of the corvid (crow) family, but even compared to its not-so-bashful blue jay and black crow cousins, this bird has a bold personality.
An omnivore if there ever was one, the gray jay has learned to associate humans with food. Barnard’s observations suggest adults teach their young to panhandle. And they learn quickly. No one knows when this started – perhaps when the first humans came across the Bering land bridge, they were met by a gray jay asking, “you want to share that mastodon meat?”
One of the bird’s many nicknames – whiskey jack – is believed to be a corruption of an Algonquin word for prankster. Trappers found the birds would follow them to pilfer their bait, and lumberjacks that they would rummage through their camps. Thus another nickname – camp robber.
Barnard’s offering of choice is English muffins. The birds recognize his truck. They come down for the muffins, but they’re wary. He’s taken blood samples from a lot of them and, like your dog at the vet, they don’t remember the experience fondly.
Gray jays have a memory like a Vegas card counter. They need it. They are “scatter- hoarders.” They mix food with super sticky saliva and tuck it into the bark of spruce trees at randomly selected spots in their territory. Gray jays create thousands of food caches, by some estimates up to 8,000 at one time, and retrieve some 80 percent of those morsels (what happens to the other 20 percent isn’t clear, though raids by other animals and spoilage surely take a toll).
The caches allow the jays to live year round in an area with brutal winters and to begin nesting early – February and March. Their young leave the nest in early May, when many migratory species are just arriving.
While gray jays hatch several young, the dominant sibling takes over and drives the others out. The top bird stays with the parents for at least a year, while the others fend for themselves. The subdominant birds “have a very high mortality rate,” noted Barnard.
Although gray jays are not common in Vermont and New Hampshire, there’s reason to think that the species is losing ground. Barnard has noticed a drop in the Victory Bog population, and wonders whether gray jays should go on the state’s endangered species list. The news from over the border is also worrying: a researcher in Ontario found fewer young were raised following a warm fall and winter. The theory: warmer temperatures interfere with the bird’s niche as a winter hoarder, resulting in more food spoilage, fewer young, and a gradual retrenchment northward.
Barnard understands that gray jays may not have much of a future in our region, but he would hate to see them go. “They’re absolutely delightful birds,” he said. He remembers watching a sharp-shinned hawk hunting a gray jay. The jay would hop out of the way, like a matador swinging his red cape, seemingly playing with the hawk. “It’s a classic example of gray jay attitude,” Barnard said.
Joe Rankin writes about forestry and nature from his home in central Maine.
Gray Jays: Birds With Attitude | The Outside Story | October 13th 2014



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Only 63 confirmed sightings of lynx were documented in Minnesota from 2000 to 2006, according to the Department of Natural Resources.................Are there still enough of the "big pawed" cats out there in the Great Lake States to take advantage of the 8069 square mile critical habitat acreage that the USFW Agency has designated in Minnesota?.




The full Blog post2, with any associated

 images and links can be viewed here.

Feds set 'critical 

habitat' limits for

 threatened lynx

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer Updated: October 14, 2014 - 10:35 AM
Should you come across the elusive Canada lynx in the
 Arrowhead, be aware that they're in one of five parts of
 the United States designated as "critical habitat" for a
 wild cat in danger of extinction. On Tuesday, the U.S.
 Fish & Wildlife Service's final rule designating
prime lynx territory went into effect. The lynx thrives in
 large tracts of boreal forest, where it can find its favorite
meal, snowshoe hares, and "persistent deep, fluffy snow,
" which the tufted-ear cats can navigate better than
 bobcat and other hare predators, according to the agency.
The designation of critical lynx habitat in Minnesota,
 Maine, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington
 followed a lawsuit by environmental advocates to boos
t the protection of lynx, which have been listed as
"threatened" since 2000. The designation could affect
 timber harvesting and other activities on public lands,
 which make up about 85 percent of the 8,069-square
-mile critical habitat in Minnesota, but it won't interfere
 with development on private land unless it requires
 a federal wetlands permit.
So how many lynx remain in the United States? No
 one really knows. Wild cats are notoriously hard to
spot,
 and most evidence points to a very small population
of
 lynx. The Fish & Wildlife fact sheetdoesn't even
 venture a guess. Nor do a number of wildlife advocacy
 groups. Only 63 confirmed sightings of lynx were
documented in Minnesota from 2000 to 2006,
 according to the Department of Natural Resources

Monday, October 20, 2014

Washington State Large Carnivore Lab Leader Rob Wielgus who has pioneered ground breaking research on how we humans exasperate Puma conflicts through the killing of mature males(allowing juvenile males to enter territories and take chances with livestock and people leading to conflicts) needs to be his best "salesman" to convince Washington area Ranchers to work with him on his non lethal wolf coexistence paradigm------Rob states: “Those cooperators who have accepted to work with us have experienced limited or no livestock depredation"........... “Some of those who refused to cooperate with us have experienced severe depredation events".................”Wielgus said he would find the kill immediately through radio collar tracking, use nonlethal methods and the depredations would likely cease

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20141020/ranchers-question-value-of-wolf-study#.VEXNuT4q2jk.email

Ranchers question value of wolf study

Matthew Weaver
Capital Press

MATTHEW WEAVER/CAPITAL PRESS
Rob Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Laboratory at Washington State University, talks about his efforts to work with ranchers to study wolf conflicts next to the stuffed gray wolf on display at WSU’s Conner Museum Oct. 15 on the university campus in Pullman, Wash.
Buy this photo




















Washington State University large carnivore laboratory director Rob Wielgus hopes more ranchers will cooperate with his study into wolf and livestock conflicts. But regional ranchers are questioning the value of his research, saying they already know how the conflicts will go.

PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State University researcher studying conflicts between wolves and livestock says ranchers might not have lost as many animals to wolves if they’d been working with his team. But Washington rancher organizations say his study won’t net much new information for the industry.
Rob Wielgus, director of the Large Carnivore Laboratory at Washington State University, is finishing up the first year of studying wolf-livestock conflicts during grazing season with his team of graduate students and several ranchers over the last year.
Wielgus suggested nonlethal interventions in conflicts between livestock and the Huckleberry and Profanity Peak packs, but state wildlife authorities didn’t implement them.
Wielgus said he hasn’t received the level of cooperation from ranchers he wanted.
“Those cooperators who have accepted to work with us have experienced limited or no livestock depredation,” he said. “Some of those who refused to cooperate with us have experienced severe depredation events.”Wielgus said he would find the kill immediately through radio collar tracking, use nonlethal methods and the depredations would likely cease.
“Our sample size is really small, but it’s worked so far,” he said. “Let’s get that sample size up and see which of these practices, if any, are really effective. We could have just had a lucky year with our radio-collared sample and a very unlucky year with our un-radio collared sample.”
Various ranching organizations are questioning the value of Wielgus’ work.
“Dr. Wielgus is tapping the cash cow,” said Jamie Henneman, media specialist for Cattle Producers of Washington, charging that he’s using the state Legislature to fund his department. “I do not believe any of the research he is doing is going to edify the body of evidence that’s already out there. I don’t know what it is that we’re supposed to find out about wolves in Washington that we don’t already know about wolves.”
Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, would prefer the money be spent collaring wolves, rather than determine what happens when someone tries to deter activity.
“It’s very clear when you put some type of significant activity in there, you can temporarily alter the behavior of a wolf pack,” Field said. “We’re dealing with apex predators. At the point when that pack tips over and begins preying on livestock, we need to quickly and effectively remove the pack.”
Wielgus’ team captured and radio collared roughly two to three wolves from seven wolf packs. The team monitored the wolves and nearby livestock herds, radio collaring 35 livestock and radio ear-tagging 285 livestock.
Wielgus’ team investigated 300 GPS kill clusters. They documented four sheep kills by the Diamond Pack in Idaho and the rest of the kill clusters were wild ungulates.
The researchers and livestock owner moved the rest of the sheep “to a defensible position” and installed flags and foxlights. The depredations stopped, Wielgus said.
Wielgus hopes to study wolf-livestock conflicts over four grazing seasons. He’s examining data on nonlethal efforts from Idaho and Montana from the last 25 years.
Wielgus hopes for more cooperation with ranchers and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. His annual funding of $300,000 lasts through July 2015, halfway through the grazing season. He hopes for more funding from the Legislature to continue the project for another two years.
“I get the sense politics is a huge factor in what is done, rather than science and the facts,” Wielgus said.”If we can get more people to cooperate with us and listen to our recommendations, I think we can really get a handle on this wolf-livestock depredation problem.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ecologist George Wuerthner espouses the principles that this Blog adheres to-----THERE IS NO REASON TO KILL CARNIVORES---THERE IS NO REASON TO "GARDEN" THE FOREST-----Listen and learn as George goes into the "no spin zone" and debunks the folly of the US Forest Service and it's claim that timber sales in National Forests support ecological health and provides income for communities that ring the forest-------"Current policies like "forest restoration" are actually degrading forest ecosystems".............. "Foresters cannot tell which trees, for instance, have a genetic propensity to withstand drought or tolerance for cold or ability to withstand fires and beetles".............. "Random removal of trees reduces the genetic resilience of the forest ecosystem"........... Logging removes biomass"........... "Reducing tree densities through logging short-circuits fires, beetles and other natural processes that create unique forest types like snag forests and are important for recruitment of dead trees".............."Even if one agreed that it is desirable for taxpayers to provide welfare to rural communities in the form of logging operations, this ignores the fact that corporate stockholders and company owners skim off a lot of that subsidy before it ever gets to mill workers and woods workers".................. "Indeed, some economic analyses show it would be better to simply give checks to employees to not log than incur the costs of a timber sale".............. "Better yet, pay people to fix all the things that are ignored or given little attention like wildlife surveys, decommissioning of roads, maintenance of campgrounds and so forth"........................."To use an old cliché, it adds insult to injury by allowing timber companies to haul trees off site, robbing the forest of critical nutrients and structural components"..............."This is analogous to the policies of fish and wildlife agencies that "control" wolves and mountain lions, then argue that elk and deer herds are too big, thus must be "thinned" by hunters"................ "Of course, research has more than adequately demonstrated that hunters kill different animals than native predators do, typically selecting the healthiest herd members including the biggest males and most productive age class of females, while native predators tend to take the young, old and injured"............... "Thus just as hunting policies as currently employed are degrading our wildlife population, current forest policies are having a similar negative effect on our forest ecosystems"




Gardening the Forest

You can't fix the forests with a chainsaw
ARTICLE | OCTOBER 16, 2014 - 1:00AM | BY GEORGE WUERTHNER

If the public really understood the illogic behind U.S. Forest Service management, including those endorsed by forest collaboratives, I am certain there would be more opposition to current Forest Service policies.
First, most USFS timber sales lose money. They are a net loss to taxpayers. After the costs of road construction, sale layout and environmental analyses, wildlife surveys (reforestation and other mitigation if required) are completed, most timber sales are unprofitable.


Indeed, the USFS frequently uses a kind of accounting chicanery, often ignoring basic overhead costs like the money spent on trucks, gasoline, office space and the personnel expenses of other experts like wildlife biologists, soil specialists and hydrologists that may review a timber sale during preparation that ought to be counted as a cost of any timber program.
The USFS will assert that ultimately there are benefits like logging roads provide access for recreation or that thinning will reduce wildfire severity. However, as will be pointed out later, most of these claims are not really benefits. We have thousands of miles of roads already, and adding more does not create a benefit. Even if thinning did reduce wildfires, which is questionable, it can be argued that we should not be reducing wildfire severity.
The agency will also argue that because it can't log the biggest trees, profitability of timber sales is reduced. But again, ecologically speaking, those big trees are extremely important to long-term forest ecosystem sustainability. Besides, many of the larger trees in more accessible terrain have already been high-graded and removed, further reducing the profitability of any timber sales.
Some private forest advocates say the USFS could increase its profits by logging more old growth, increasing the size of timber sales, and/or by reducing the environmental analysis and remediation. Yet these costs should always be included in the profit and loss of a sale just as a business must include the costs of rent, power, employee compensation and compliance with all zoning, environmental and other laws in the profit and loss of their operations.




Second, most economic analyses of timber sales actually ignore or minimize the real costs associated with logging operations. These include collateral damage (thus costs) of logging such as altered water flow intercepted by logging roads, sediment in streams from logging events, disturbance/displacement of sensitive wildlife, soil compaction, the spread of weeds, loss of scenery, habitat fragmentation and so forth.
Many of these costs are on-going and never end. For instance, once weeds are introduced into an area, it is nearly impossible to eliminate them. And thus the cost of a logging sale that introduces weeds could be impossible to determine, but we know that it is far more than the value of any wood derived from selling federal timber.
Third, most natural ecological processes such as wildfire, beetles, etc. are critical to the long-term ecological health of forests. Yet the USFS typically attempts to reduce these factors to the greatest degree possible — in essence short-circuiting forest ecosystem function. In reality, they are typically not successful in these efforts — wildfires still burn a lot of acreage and thankfully we haven't figured out yet how to stop beetle outbreaks — but the fact that they waste billions attempting to purge natural processes is yet another indication of irrational forest policy.
Rather than a sign of unhealthy forests as portrayed by the pro-logging bias of the agency, these natural processes are important for recruitment of down wood into the ecosystem, create a diversity of wildlife habitat, and naturally thin forests. Stand replacement fires, for instance, have the second highest biodiversity found in forest ecosystems. In reality a "healthy" forest is one where wildfire, beetles and other natural processes operate. These agents are like predator to ungulate populations — they are important top-down influences.
Fourth, when confronted with the losses associated with logging, the Forest Service suggests that timber sales and logging support the economic vitality of rural communities. However, even if one agreed that it is desirable for taxpayers to provide welfare to rural communities in the form of logging operations, this ignores the fact that corporate stockholders and company owners skim off a lot of that subsidy before it ever gets to mill workers and woods workers. Indeed, some economic analyses show it would be better to simply give checks to employees to not log than incur the costs of a timber sale. Better yet, pay people to fix all the things that are ignored or given little attention like wildlife surveys, decommissioning of roads, maintenance of campgrounds and so forth.








Current policies like "forest restoration" are actually degrading forest ecosystem. Foresters cannot tell which trees, for instance, have a genetic propensity to withstand drought or tolerance for cold or ability to withstand fires and beetles. Random removal of trees reduces the genetic resilience of the forest ecosystem. Logging removes biomass. Reducing tree densities through logging short-circuits fires, beetles and other natural processes that create unique forest types like snag forests and are important for recruitment of dead trees.
Here's where you find the policies are totally illogical. First, the USFS attempts to eliminate natural thinning agents like wildfire and beetles. Then the USFS claims forests are too "dense" and require "thinning" trees (more appropriately termed "kill" trees) to reduce density. A reduction in density, it is argued, will reduce the natural ecological processes like beetles and fires. Meanwhile it spends tax dollars trying to eliminate the natural thinning agents.
To use an old cliché, it adds insult to injury by allowing timber companies to haul trees off site, robbing the forest of critical nutrients and structural components.This is analogous to the policies of fish and wildlife agencies that "control" wolves and mountain lions, then argue that elk and deer herds are too big, thus must be "thinned" by hunters. Of course, research has more than adequately demonstrated that hunters kill different animals than native predators do, typically selecting the healthiest herd members including the biggest males and most productive age class of females, while native predators tend to take the young, old and injured. Thus just as hunting policies as currently employed are degrading our wildlife population, current forest policies are having a similar negative effect on our forest ecosystems.
Forest ecosystems are perfectly capable of responding to these natural ecological processes that are ultimately driven by climatic conditions. Large wildfires, for instance, bring forest types in balance with available water, nutrients and temperatures much more effectively than any logging schemes.
What I see happening is the gardening of our forests. The USFS, like a gardener who has allotted space for various crops with rows of carrots, corn and potatoes, tries to garden our forests. It decides that a particular landscape should be dominated by ponderosa pine or Douglas fir, or that place will be aspen or meadows, or this place is for spotted owls and that place for elk winter range, and so on. The problem is that wild forest ecosystems are dynamic and do not neatly fit into boxes or categories.
The problem is that even if we wanted to "garden" our wild forests, we are thus far, thankfully, incapable of doing this. All we do is wreak havoc on forest ecosystems. Every proposal to "fix" the forests creates new problems we never envisioned. In trying to garden our forests, we degrade them.

About the Author

George Wuerthner has published 36 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Crocodiles and Alligators might be second only to humans in their ability to hunt their prey with a team of others of their kind and in the process, coordinate their actions in sophisticated ways so that each individual animal takes advantage of their best inherent ability in generating a successful kill..................U. of Tennessee Researcher Bladimir Dinets has documented that larger Alligators and Crocodiles tend to drive fish from the deeper part of a lake into the shallows where smaller and more agile "gators and crocs" use their quickness to ambush and make the kill...............As virtually all of us know from grad school studies, Crocodiles and Alligators are some of the oldest creatures on the planet, dating back to the Dinosaur era............. What most of us were not aware of was their great brainpower on exhibit in their display of advanced parental care, complex communication between individuals and their ability to use tools for hunting(they often climb trees and use lures such as sticks to hunt prey)

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/sciencedaily/plants_animals/~3/Xe0ot1p7yMQ/141013152654.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

Crocodiles are sophisticated hunters: Work as a team to hunt their prey

Rcent studies have found that crocodiles and their relatives are highly intelligent animals capable of sophisticated behavior such as advanced parental care, complex communication and use of tools for hunting.


New University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research published in the journal Ethology Ecology and Evolution shows just how sophisticated their hunting techniques can be.
Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in UT's Department of Psychology, has found that crocodiles work as a team to hunt their prey. His research tapped into the power of social media to document such behavior.












Studying predatory behavior by crocodiles and their relatives such as alligators and caimans in the wild is notoriously difficult because they are ambush hunters, have slow metabolisms and eat much less frequently than warm-blooded animals. In addition, they are mostly nocturnal and often hunt in murky, overgrown waters of remote tropical rivers and swamps. Accidental observations of their hunting behavior are often made by non-specialists and remain unpublished or appear in obscure journals.
To overcome these difficulties, Dinets used Facebook and other social media sites to solicit eyewitness accounts from amateur naturalists, crocodile researchers and nonscientists working with crocodiles. He also looked through diaries of scientists and conducted more than 3,000 hours of observations himself.
All that work produced just a handful of observations, some dating back to the 19th century. Still, the observations had something in common -- coordination and collaboration among the crocodiles in hunting their prey.
"Despite having been made independently by different people on different continents, these records showed striking similarities. This suggests that the observed phenomena are real, rather than just tall tales or misinterpretation," said Dinets.
Crocodiles and alligators were observed conducting highly organized game drives. For example, crocodiles would swim in a circle around a shoal of fish, gradually making the circle tighter until the fish were forced into a tight "bait ball." Then the crocodiles would take turns cutting across the center of the circle, snatching the fish.
Sometimes animals of different size would take up different roles. Larger alligators would drive a fish from the deeper part of a lake into the shallows, where smaller, more agile alligators would block its escape. In one case, a huge saltwater crocodile scared a pig into running off a trail and into a lagoon where two smaller crocodiles were waiting in ambush -- the circumstances suggested that the three crocodiles had anticipated each other's positions and actions without being able to see each other.
"All these observations indicate that crocodilians might belong to a very select club of hunters -- just 20 or so species of animals, including humans -- capable of coordinating their actions in sophisticated ways and assuming different roles according to each individual's abilities. In fact, they might be second only to humans in their hunting prowess," said Dinets.
Dinets said more observations are needed to better understand what exactly the animals are capable of. "And these observations don't come easily," he said.
Previous research by Dinets discovered that crocodiles are able to climb trees and use lures such as sticks to hunt prey. More of his crocodile research can be found in his book "Dragon Songs."

Friday, October 17, 2014

As we know from the studies conducted on the ten Pumas that still call the Greater Los Angeles basin home, highways literally stop dead the genetic flow of the big cat, isolating populations with inbreeding maladies being the result.............Researchers from the University of California, Davis,collected DNA samples from more than 350 mountain lions throughout California and found that animals separated by little more than a highway have far less genetic material in common than they did just 80 years ago..................We need highway culverts created for the Pumas so that they can move back and forth across territories and invigorate neighboring populations with their genes,,,,,,,,,,,,Othervwise the fact that California has been enlightened enough to ban the hunting of these animals will be all for naught with physical and mental abnormalities the eventual outcome of this man made array of physical blockades and the loss of resilience for the "lions"

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/science/a-threat-is-seen-in-pumas-isolation.html&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTNDU2MzgwNjM0Njc2NDQ3NzE3MzIaNTI1NjVmODUzZjRjOTZmOTpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNFibDdrwFdrSYuhEcfbMpr3hfhoaA

The isolating effects of human
 development are 
causing a sharp decline in genetic
 diversity among 
mountain lions in Southern
California,
 a new study says.

Researchers from the University of 
California, Davis, 
collected DNA samples from more 
than 350 mountain 
lions throughout California and
 found 
that animals 
separated by little more than a
 highway 
have far less
 genetic material in common than
they
 did just 80 years
ago, suggesting that there is far less 
interbreeding among 
populations.








Pumas in the Santa Ana Mountains 
— effectively fenced in
 by Interstate 15 to the east, the
Pacific
 Ocean to the west 
and Los Angeles to the north —
 displayed lower genetic 
diversity than those from nearly
 any
 other region in the
 state. So severe is their isolation 
that the Santa Ana pumas
 have more in common genetically
 with lions 400 miles to 
the north than their neighbors
 in the
 Santa Monica Mountains.




Tests revealed
that the decline
 in diversity had
taken place
“within four to
 six mountain lion
generations,” said 
Holly Ernest, lead author
 of the studyin PLOS One.
 “So
we 
know that this is happening 
on a recent time scale” and is a
likely
 result of human development 
rather than natural separation
 from 
other mountain lions.
“Genetically diverse populations
 are
 better able to handle whatever
 nature or humans throw at them,
like
 climate change or disease,”
 said Dr. Ernest, a geneticist now
 at 
the University of Wyoming. “If
mountain
 lions lose that genetic diversity,
they
 lose that resilience.”