The ACR Mountain Lion Project is a community-based research and education project in the Mayacamas Mountains of Sonoma and Napa Counties that will increase scientific and public understanding of mountain lions, identify priority habitat areas for conservation, and increase appreciation for these important top predators.

By expanding our knowledge of mountain lion behavior, population size, feeding habits, home range, and movements, we can contribute to their conservation and the protection of the habitat critical for their survival while minimizing conflict with humans.

ACR’s principal investigator on the Project is Dr. Quinton Martins, a leading expert on large mountain cats and a skilled predator trapper. Together with a team of ACR staff and advisors, Dr. Martins is studying the movement of mountain lions within a study area that encompasses approximately 1,000 square miles, primarily in the Mayacamas Mountains (areas east of Highway 101 and west of 29) in Sonoma and Napa Counties. As part of the Bay Area Puma Research Cooperative, ACR's project will lead to a better understanding of mountain lion ecology, connectivity in this fragmented landscape, and identification of priority areas for conservation.

This research is paired with an extensive education and outreach program that builds on ACR's existing successful nature education programs. The ACR Mountain Lion Project will provide school-age children an opportunity to learn about these animals in a greater conservation context while dispelling myths that contribute to a culture of fear around predators.

     

acr-lion1_dsc0059-cropped4x6.jpg
Female mountain lion with deer taken by ACR hi-definition trail camera, 3/4/16.

 

ACR is a regional leader in cutting-edge research and conservation of keystone species.

ACR’s Conservation Science Program conducts research to resolve important conservation issues. We are already the acknowledged experts in the regional ecology of herons and egrets, building on over 40 years of research on local heronries. As top predators in wetlands, these important birds are seen as indicators of the health of wetland ecosystems. Similarly, mountain lions are top predators in our terrestrial ecosystem and can be seen as both “umbrella” and “keystone” species. Because they have large ranges and special habitat requirements, conservation of mountain lions leads to broader habitat conservation, connectivity and species preservation. Long-term sustainability of a mountain lion population represents maintenance of an intact and functioning ecosystem.

ACR believes that conservation is successful when people feel personally connected to nature. Mountain lions are such an iconic and charismatic species, inspiring awe, curiosity, and sometimes fear in a way that few other animals do. Through cutting-edge research, ACR continues to lead regional conservation and, through a greater understanding and appreciation of our natural world, create a better environment for all communities.


For more information on the ACR Mountain Lion Project, contact Dr. Quinton Martins, ACR Wildlife Ecologist, mountainlion@egret.org

 


Further reading about the importance of habitat connectivity may be found in the 2015 issue ACR's The Ardeid.