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We were thrilled to welcome the ABC7News special projects team to join us on our search for mountain lions in the hills of Sonoma. The news crew filmed behind the scenes, interviewed our team and local landowners and captured the latest developments this week. This captivating story was featured by ABC7News (KGO Bay Area) Thursday, February 23.

Fourth Mountain Lion Captured

Just before this aired, our research team was thrilled to capture a fourth female mountain lion in four months. The latest big cat, named P4 for research purposes, is an adult female estimated to be 5-6 years old and weighing in at 83 pounds. The mountain lion was fitted with a GPS satellite collar in the early morning hours of February 20 on private property in the rugged hills east of Highway 12 between the Bouverie Preserve and the town of Sonoma.

The mountain lion was in good condition with no signs of any injuries. “We saw no evidence of any offspring or companions nearby, and she showed no signs of being pregnant or lactating,” noted Dr. Quinton Martins, ACR’s lead researcher on the project. The capture, led by Dr. Martins, was attended by California Department of Fish and Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford and ACR research team Jeanne Wirka, Alex Hettena and Virginia Fifield.

“After securing permission from the landowners, our team set two traps in the afternoon, and monitored them constantly all night. Due to inclement weather, extra precautions were taken for monitoring the cages - three different types of trap monitors were used: satellite, VHF and cellular,” Martins said. “P4 arrived at the traps for the first time before 7:00 p.m., and was clearly very keen to get at the bait, but very wary of going into the trap. The cold, rainy weather could possibly have added to her interest in a ‘free’ meal.” With the team stationed nearby but remotely monitoring the cages for nearly 7 hours, P4 finally went into the cage at 1:44 a.m. and proceeded to calmly consume the much desired deer bait until the team was ready to safely handle her. She was fitted her with her new satellite GPS collar, measurements and samples taken and then released at the same site.

“The team was on the go for more than 24 hours with very little sleep,” said Wirka, ACR Director of Stewardship, noting that this marks the third mountain lion to be fitted with a GPS collar under a Scientific Collection permit issued to ACR by California Department of Fish and Wildlife in July. In November, a 10-month old mountain lion (P3) was captured but weighed under the 50-pound minimum for the GPS collar. Data was collected on this lion and the team hopes to recapture her in the future.

Learn more about the mountain lion project 

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