Staff and volunteers attended the California Rangeland Summit to network with many of the most committed ranchers and conservationists in the state.
The day-long meeting dealt specifically with wildfire and rangeland management, and was focused on mediating the impacts of wildfires like those experienced in California in 2015 to rangelands dedicated to wildlife, conservation and ranching.
The summit addressed challenges and opportunities to improve rangeland management, to reduce the scope and severity of catastrophic wildfire and to reduce the impacts of wildfire to ranch sustainability and conservation interests.
Mountain Lion Foundation attended in order to learn more about the difficulties ranchers face in conserving wildlife, especially when both ecosystems and economic systems are stressed by catastrophic events. Through better understanding, we hope to find innovative solutions to traditionally difficult problems.
MLF also provided ideas for non-lethal methods for dealing with mountain lion conflicts, and set future meetings with landowners, grazing operators, agencies and advocacy groups.
In particular Mountain Lion Foundation volunteer Fauna Tomlinson presented information about Foxlight, a new frightening device that is showing great promise in keeping wild animals away from domestic livestock.
You can learn more about Foxlight by viewing the YouTube video that describes how it's been used in Australia to protect sheep from foxes. A plastic container that sits atop a fencepost flashes 9 LED's in patterns to scare away predators. There are two versions, one solar and one battery powered.
Many other methods -- from penning, to shed birthing, to guard animals -- were also discussed.
The summit was co-sponsored by the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition and University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources.