On a recent walk through the Oregon capitol, Rob Klavins notes "just how far we haven't come" in the last 170 years. Outdated anti-predator views from the early wild west still dominate the wildlife policy making process. Rather than focusing resources on public education or safety, legislators are allowing the state to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to shoot coyotes from helicopters, reauthorize illegal inhumane hunting practices, and kill federally protected species. Our society is more intelligent than this, or at least shouldn't we be able to find better things to do with our time?
Despite cougar biologist John Laundre's recent study demonstrating abundant available mountain lion habitat in the 6-million acre Adirondack Park of upstate New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation refuses to acknowledge it. For whatever reason, the agency continues to promote outdated opinions that lions are incapable of reestablishing populations in the eastern United States.
In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in New Mexico and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.
From the Mexican border to Washington State, Sudarsky's wide-ranging research and fieldwork over the course of two years has yielded an unsettling picture of the staggering challenges facing mountain lion recovery... and some dramatic encounters with Puma concolor. Learn more about Sudarsky's foray into the controversies surrounding America's most magical and beleaguered cat.
A mountain lion lost in downtown Santa Monica, California, was a call for help from wild animals squeezed by a city. The good news is, wildlife corridors can be their way out. Learn more about the decades of research that have gone into mapping, connecting, and protecting patches of wildlands for mountain lions and all wildlife.
More than 40 years ago, Senator John Dunlap (D-Napa) made conservation history when his mountain lion hunting moratorium passed the California Legislature and became law in 1971. Even today it is rare to find legislators willing to take a stand for America's lion. In this feature article, a now-retired Dunlap recalls the fight to pass the bill and his guiding principle, "when in doubt, preserve."
In June 2012, the possibility of mountain lions returning to the Midwest — and ultimately to other states along the eastern seaboard — was heralded in newspapers across the country. Headline after headline welcomed the return of mountain lions to places where they have not been seen for many decades. How did this come to pass? Is the trend real and sustainable? How was the news received by local policy makers? To address some of these critical questions, the Mountain Lion Foundation reviewed three recent research projects.
Where cities meet wildlands, crossing the boundary can often make the difference between life and death for a mountain lion. We all know that mountain lions are often shot and killed to insure public safety when they wander across this unmarked boundary following prey such as deer or raccoons, in search of water, or when challenged out of their territory by a parent or competing lion. Bill Hebner, a Captain in the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) envisioned and implemented an alternative that allows authorities to relocate some cougars back to the wild: Karelian Bear Dogs.
The abilities of mountain lions to stay hidden and avoid people helps them to survive, but it also makes cougar research a real challenge! While studying the biology and behavior of lions is of value in and of itself, it can also serve significant conservation goals as we learn about the extent and origins of human-caused lion deaths: when lions are intentionally shot for depredation, road-killed on our highways, or succumb to pesticides and other toxins. Recently, I had an opportunity to tag along with Dr. Winston Vickers and Deanna Dawn, dedicated biologists with U.C Davis' Wildlife Health Center, as they tracked and recaptured one of Southern California's mountain lions.
In this edition of ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews cougar biologist Gary Koehler about his experience with mountain lion and human populations in Washington. Koehler sheds light on the difficulty of applying scientific research about lion behavior to human attitudes and management.
A cougar biologist takes a strong stand on the real value of wildlife. In this important opinion piece, John Laundré considers the public cost of wildlife mismanagement, and the consequences of bureaucratic decisions that fail to consider the public good and the intrinsic value of wild predators.
A rare disease among wild cats has become the primary cause of death among bobcats in California's Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The cats are dying from mange, a skin disease caused by a tiny parasite. The use of rat poisons is likely the underlying cause of the dramatic increase in mange-related deaths.
In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, volunteer Craig Fergus interviews wildlife biologist Clayton Nielsen about his work mapping dispersal corridors for mountain lions into the Midwest, and analyzing areas of good habitat in anticipation of potential breeding populations in the region.
The 80th anniversary of the passage of the Animal Damage Control Act in 2011 was hardly a cause for celebration. It was a time of mourning for each one of the millions of coyotes, foxes, wolves, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, badgers, Canada geese, cormorants, blackbirds and other wildlife killed under its authority.
The pursuit of game as trophies is a pursuit of vanity. It is a self-indulgence that amounts to a bravura by those with a predilection to kill wildlife. For those with a trigger itch, trophy hunting fulfills that enigmatic urge to connect with nature. Obliterating nature while claiming a respect for it is the ultimate double-cross.
The story of a mountain lion death in Redwood City, California has clarified the need for better community planning. Taking action now can prevent fatal reactions in the future. When a lion comes too close for comfort, you can help to give the wild cat an opportunity to move on... and survive.
In this edition of ON AIR, MLF broadcaster Julie West interviews Steve Pavlik about the Native American view of large carnivores, explore the field of cognitive ethology, and the idea that animals have rational thoughts and emotions not unlike people.
In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, Julie West interviews Richard Gilbreth about his work at the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary. The IEAS is a unique haven for exotic animals and remains the one and only AZA certified sanctuary.
Spend just eight minutes and learn little known facts about the fascinating mountain lion. Get a glimpse of how a mountain lion thinks, feels, and senses. What makes the mountain lion so adaptable to a wide variety of habitats? How does their hunting differ from that of wolves and bears? What is their relationship to the ecosystem?
An e-mail story circulating about a Montana couple being saved from a mountain lion attack by their mule includes graphic photographs of the mule reportedly fighting and killing the lion. But everything about the story is an outright lie.
In this edition of ON AIR, Kim Vacariu reveals how the Wildlands Network connects experts and landowners to protect corridors spanning the continent to maintain habitat connectivity for keystone species and prevent trophic cascades of extinction.
In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, volunteer Craig Fergus interviews geneticist Ashwin Naidu about his work studying mountain lions and their diet in southwestern Arizona via non-invasive genetic techniques.
In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews cougar biologist Toni Ruth about her decades of research, including study of the interactions and competition between wolves, cougars, and bears in Yellowstone National Park.
When the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (SDGF&P) submitted the 2010-2015 Mountain Lion Management Plan, it included errors in math that will result in the unnecessary deaths of 80 to 100 adult lions, and the deaths of many kittens from slow starvation.
On June 30th, 2010, California State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) presented Mountain Lion Foundation Board Chairman, Toby Cooper with a Senate resolution commemorating the Foundation's "significant contributions" to the passage and implementation of the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990 (Proposition 117).
Florida Panthers face inbreeding, habitat loss, and record-high roadkills. Hear about Wildlife Bilogist Deborah Jansen's work tracking and collaring the big cats in southwest Florida, and what the future may hold for Puma concolor coryi.
Two mountain lion kittens have exposed a gaping hole in mountain lion protection policies. California still has much work to do before lions will truly be "specially protected." The ban on recreational hunting was only a first step. Remaining on the "to-do" list: clarifying policies and facilitating communication between the state Department of Fish & Game, wildlife rescue groups, and the public.
Seeing a lion in the wild is an especially rare occurrence. Cougars are solitary, elusive, and very stealthy. If a cougar is in the area and you are lucky enough to detect its presence, most often it will be due to "cougar sign" and not actually seeing the animal. These signs are evidence left behind after a cougar has passed through. Cougar signs include tracks, scat, scratches and cached (partially buried) prey.
What purpose do the mountain lion and other major predators serve? These animals are at the top of the food chain. With a shrug, we respond with words recalled form high school biology: Predators contribute to the balance of nature. But balance is not enough. An empty scale will balance.