The Santa Monica Mountains Fund is dedicated to advancing research and conservation of the mountain lions that call the park home. Unfortunately, their future in the park is uncertain and the Fund is actively working with park biologists to learn what is needed protect these magnificent animals. Clear evidence shows that when large predators are lost, the balance of life in an ecosystem is severely disrupted and the diversity of other plants and animals begins an accelerated decline.
Your donation directly supports the work being undertaken to protect mountain lions. This research has already influenced state and local policy decisions on issues such as construction of highway crossings and regulation of certain rat poisons. Additional funding is needed to continue this project. Some examples of how your donation will be used include:
- Radio-collars: $2,500 – 5,000.00 per collar
- Tracking vehicle: $3000.00 per year
- Anticoagulant Testing: $120.00 per mountain lion capture
- Health diagnostics: $40.00 per test
- Disease surveys: $50.00 per test
Threats Facing Mountain Lions
A single male mountain lion uses about 100,000 acres of natural habitat, about the size of the entire Santa Monica Mountains! If mountain lions cannot move between natural areas, their population will not survive. It’s essential to keep open spaces connected and create new wildlife corridors where needed.
In the Santa Monica Mountains, eleven out of twelve mountain lions tested positive for two or more rodent poison toxins. Researchers found higher levels of toxins in wild cats that spent more time in developed areas.
- View this infographic to understand how rat poisons affect local wildlife.
- See an example of a mountain lion affected by mange.
- Share this information with friends and neighbors.
Will mountain lions survive in the Santa Monica Mountains? Much of that will depend on our willingness to give them the space they need and to take steps to avoid conflicts. Small efforts, like bringing pets and livestock in at night and driving with care, can make a big difference. If you see a mountain lion and want to report it, contact Jeff_sikich@nps.gov at the National Park Service.
Mountain Lion Research
Since the spring of 2002, park scientists have studied mountain lions in and around the park. The more we know about their behavior, the better equipped we are to protect them. Mountain lions are radio-collared and then scientists use GPS to monitor their movement. The questions researchers are trying to answer are:
- How are movement patterns of mountain lions affected by urban development and roads?
- What constitutes a barrier (ie., freeways?) and what constitutes a corridor (ie., underpasses?) for these wild cats?
- What is the survival rate for these animals and what are the sources of mortality for them?
- What are the population estimates for mountain lions in the Simi Valley and Santa Monica Mountains?
- To what diseases are these mountain lions exposed?
- Are the mountain lions reproducing?
Learn more about the radio-collared mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains at www.urbancarnivores.com.