California’s mountain lion population is worse than expected – as census reveals there are only 3,200-4,500 left – nearly 3,000 fewer than thought


Scientists have estimated the number of mountain lions, also known as cougars in California, which may be lower than they had hoped.

Officials concluded that there are 3,200-4,500 total mountain lions, thousands fewer than expected.

State and university scientists calculated the total number using GPS collar data and genetic information from shoreline samples.

The scientists used this data to match the populations across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and the fire-stripped wilderness in Southern California.

Experts will view the final project report before publication in a scientific journal later this year.

The scientists used this data to match the populations across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and the fire-stripped wilderness in Southern California
The scientists used this data to match the populations across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and the fire-stripped wilderness in Southern California
The coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California and the highest population density and the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada range has the lowest
The coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California and the highest population density and the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada range has the lowest

Winston Vickers, a veterinarian at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, was one of the officials who conducted the study.

‘There’s never been a study of this scale and over such a large and diverse geographical area with such a variety of habitats,’ said Vickers.

Large-carnivore biologist and leader of the California Mountain Lion Project effort Justin Dellinger told the LA Times that the most significant population density is in ‘the coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California.’

The lowest is in the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada Range in Inyo County, California.

‘The Central Valley and portions of the Mojave Desert have no mountain lions,’ said Dellinger.

The predicted number of the California mountain lion population was around 6,000 according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Justin Dellinger told the LA Times that the most significant population density is in 'the coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California'
Justin Dellinger told the LA Times that the most significant population density is in ‘the coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California’
The predicted number of the California mountain lion population was around 6,000 according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
The predicted number of the California mountain lion population was around 6,000 according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Dellinger, officials at CDFW, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, the nonprofit Institute for Wildlife Studies and the nonprofit Audubon Canyon Ranch first looked for mountain lion tracks in forests, canyons, and desert badlands.

They also put in trail cameras and traps, and tranquilized lions to take biological and samples and fit the mountain lions with tracking collars.

According to Dellinger, officials spent around $2.45 million in state funds for more than seven years.

The money went into coming up with three population estimates: One being 4,511 and two being 3,200 cougars living in California.

Officials first looked for mountain lion tracks in forests, canyons, and desert badlands before putting in trail cameras and traps
Officials first looked for mountain lion tracks in forests, canyons, and desert badlands before putting in trail cameras and traps

The professionals conducting the study have agreed that ‘humans are the greatest threat to mountain lions.’

California mountain lions are not listed as an endangered species, but things like vehicles, rat poison, inbreeding, wildfires, poaching, urban encroachment and freeway systems can affect the population.

In fact, there’s almost a one in four chance that California mountain lions can be extinct in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana Mountains within 50 years.

The state Fish and Game Commission has recently granted extra protection for cougars in six California regions and a vote will take place on April 15 to see if the mountain lion populations will be included under the Endangered Species Act.

‘We look forward to getting mountain lions the protection that is clearly warranted and desperately needed,’ said Brendan Cummings, the Center for Biological Diversity’s conservation director.

This article by Emma Salettan was first published by The Daily Mail on 8 January 20243. Lead Image: Officials concluded that there are 3,200-4,500 total mountain lions, thousands fewer than expected.

What you can do

Help to save wildlife by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute.



payment





Source link

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*