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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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Thursday, August 29, 2013

15 minutes from my home in the Santa Monica Mountains that ring Los Angeles, one of the 6 to 10 Pumas that still roam Greater Los Angeles was photographed the other day during daylight hours making a deer kill on regularly traveled Mulholland Highway, a widely traveled 2 lane road winding between the 101 Freeway and the Pacific Coast Highway......................What a fantastic sight in our 2nd largest city in the USA!.................And as some of you know, Pumas are protected by State Law in California and are not hunted or trapped................By not persecuting the "Cats", they rarely cause problems for humans(they do not take as many risks as persecuted populations who often come in close to human settlement and get into tangles with livestock and pets) as they patrol their territories hunting deer and the occasional small game.......................The National Park Service has continually been studying the LA Puma population for the past decade and has identified the challenges they face in terms of traversing highways to find mates and establish new territories................Inbreeding due to constricted space is a huge problem for these Pumas and there has been all kinds of talk about installing more wildlife crossings(underground culverts as well as above ground overpasses) so as to allow a healthy gene flow across the SoCal region..................Additional key threats to all Carnivores(including Pumas) that call Los Angeles home is the rampant use of rodenticides by homeowners who seek to kill rats and mice...................When carnivores consume the semi poisoned rodents, secondary infections like mange and internal bleeding end up killing the Carnivores..................But at least for one day, my spirits are lifted to know that a few of the Pumas in Los Angeles are still healthy enough to carry on their age old dance with the deer that are their mainstay dietary foodstuff

Mountain Lion Makes Rare Appearance on Mulholland Highway

The mountain lion, known as Puma-23, dragged a deer off the road into the dense brush in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Credit: Irv Nilsen
Credit: Irv Nilsen

A female mountain lion made a rare appearance on Mulholland Highway in a remote part of the Santa Monica Mountains this week.The mountain lion, identified by the National Park Service as Puma-23, recently left her mother.
The sight was captured by Irv Nilsen for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

A lion on top of a deer on Mulholland Hwy! This is P-23, a young female who has recently dispersed from mom. Of the 400+ kills our biologists have hiked in on, this is the only one they've seen right on a road, so it's quite a rare sight! She dragged the deer into the dense brush shortly after this photo was taken for a little more privacy.
The SMMNRA posted on itsFacebook page:

The National Park Service has beenstudying mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002.

Lions in the Santa Monica Mountains?

Female puma is seated in wildland close to Los Angeles.
In a place where urbanization is on the edge of wildlands, it is hard for a mountain lion to find a place to rest.

Many people are surprised to hear that mountains lions still live in the chaparral-covered mountains so close to urban Los Angeles.
Since 2002 the National Park Service has been conducting a scientific project to learn more about the habits of these mountain lions in and around Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. An important part of this project is to help scientists understand how human development and urbanization is impacting the large cats.
So far, National Park Service biologists have monitored 22 mountain lions with GPS radio-collars, enabling them to learn a lot about the animals' ecology and behavior. The biggest threat to lion persistence in the Santa Monica Mountains is the loss and fragmentation of habitat by roads and urban development. Another threat is poisoning from rodenticides (rat poisons), which is likely acquired secondarily from feeding on poisoned rodents, or from feeding on other animals like coyotes that have consumed poisoned rodents. The monitored lions are elusive, staying away from people, and behaving "naturally" despite all the urban development that surrounds them. The size of a mountain lion's home range in the Santa Monica Mountains is not particularly different from those in areas with little or no urban development. A typical home range is around 200 square miles for adult males and 75 square miles for adult females. As for feeding habits, mountain lions typically eat about one deer per week, along with other smaller prey, and the animals in the Santa Monica Mountains are no exception.
Biologists have also been monitoring the movements of mountain lions to identify wildlife corridors, areas that link the Santa Monica Mountains to other large natural areas and allow the lions to move between them. Genetic analyses indicate that the Santa Monica Mountains mountain lions have low genetic diversity relative to mountain lions in the rest of the state. The long-term survival of a mountain lion population here depends on their ability to move between regions to maintain genetic diversity and overall population health.
The National Park Service and its partners use information on wildlife movement to develop management plans that protect landscapes critical to wildlife. This promotes the long-term health of our native animal populations, including mountain lions, the ecosystem's top carnivore.
To find out more about these large cats, visit the following websites:

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