February 12, 2019

We greatly regret to report that mountain lion P15 (called Jupiter) was shot February 9, 2019, four days after he was collared as part of Living with Lions, a CDFW-permitted study trying to understand the movement and behavior of these top carnivores of the North Bay region.

P15 was a 13-month-old male lion recently dispersed from his mom, who is most likely P4, a female big cat also being tracked by the study. On February 4, the uncollared cat attacked an unsecured goat in the Mt. Veeder area of Napa County. After connecting with CDFW, law enforcement and wildlife rescue organizations, the landowner contacted ACR to have the cat collared for research instead of killed under a depredation permit.

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January 15, 2019

Dr. Quinton Martins and the Living with Lions team expanded the scope of our project last week with the capture and GPS-collaring of mountain lion P14 in the West County area of Sonoma County.

His capture and collaring was preceded by his predation of 2 adult llamas owned by ranch owners Paul Matthews and Maria Cardemone. Rather than seeking a depredation permit against this lion, Paul and Maria called us and agreed to allow us, as per our recent California Department of Fish and Wildlife permits, to collar this animal and learn more about its behavior.

Expressing the complex turn of events, Maria and Paul said, "So sad for us and our llamas and so exciting to be part of the ongoing exploration of the big cats and how they move thru our landscape. Always, we are on the...

January 02, 2019

The new year finds me with much to be thankful for—from my exciting, new job with ACR as a Prescribed Fire Specialist to spending the holidays with friends and family.

I’m especially grateful for the experience of the 2018 Yurok TREX (Training Exchange), hosted by the Yurok Tribe. On the Klamath River in northernmost California, they shared their cultural fire and land management practices.

On our first morning on the reservation, Bouverie Resource Ecologist Jared Jacobs and I watched the mist on the mighty Klamath River. It drifted up to meet the light rain falling on the forest.

Beautiful, but not great for getting fire started on the ground. But these inauspicious conditions did not hamper the spirits of about 50 multi-agency “fire-lighters.” We came to learn...

December 19, 2018

Greetings from the field,

On December 13 we captured young adult male, P13, in the southern Sonoma Mountain area, west of El Verano. P13 was the first male lion to go into the smaller version of my walk-through traps. This is the standard Tru-Catch height and width that P5 kept going around, but that we had caught females in. My other traps are 4” higher and wider and have worked for males and females. Will be interesting to watch this young male, who is living within the territorial range of P5. Will he remain under the radar, avoiding conflict, will he try to leave the range, or will he confront P5 in coming months?

Updates about several of the collared lions and their offspring:

P12, the young female is...

December 11, 2018

Nobody goes into land conservation expecting to keep their hands clean.

ACR staff and volunteers will tell you stewarding our preserves is dirty, sweaty and backbreaking work. But they’re not complaining.

It’s also very satisfying to tear out invasive plants, replant native flora and undo other man-made habitat damage.

These unglamorous but important jobs dovetail perfectly with our more far-reaching research efforts.

In other words, ACR’s success depends on a symbiotic relationship between habitat restoration and ecological research. Each supports the other.
We strive for ecologically healthy preserves so wildlife can flourish here. When the habitat is rich with food, water and shelter, it attracts egrets and the other animals we study.

That’s...

November 28, 2018

To a Great Egret, Tomales Bay is full of food, but that food is not always available. Every two weeks, around the new and full moons, the lowest tides and the greatest foraging opportunity coincide with the early morning, making breakfast on the bay an easy affair. During low tides, hundreds of acres of intertidal eelgrass are exposed, allowing egrets to stab at herring during spawning events or to hunt pipe fish, which try to wrap themselves around the egret’s bill to avoid being swallowed. As the tide cycle shifts and morning tides become higher, the eelgrass is exposed for fewer hours per day, reducing foraging opportunities on the bay. During these times, egrets switch to inland ponds and creeks to hunt small fish or walk the surrounding pastures in groups to capture rodents. ...

October 18, 2018

Mountain lion collaring activities are in high gear this fall, with any given week finding the team staking out a potential study subject in the Sonoma Valley, in the hills of Healdsburg or further north near Hopland. One of the most beneficial pieces of equipment in use is our cage trap that employs electronic sensors to trigger the trap when an animal the height of a mountain lion walks through.

Designed by lead researcher Quinton Martins and Keysight marketing director Neil Martin, the cage has seen several beneficial modifications over the past couple of years, including the use of netting rather than metal in the doors to reduce risk of injury to the lions.

In the photos above, the jackrabbit freely walks through the trap at about 4:00am, allowing researchers to...

October 12, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the Farley Family Charitable Foundation has granted $660,000 to Audubon Canyon Ranch, over the next two years, to develop our Fire Forward initiative into a vital resource for the region.

The Foundation has already contributed generously to ACR’s Living with Lions project, and this new gift reflects the Foundation's interest in our work to build a future of fire-adapted landscapes and communities, as well as contribute to the science of fire ecology. Tim Farley, son of the foundation’s founders Jim and Nancy Farley of Chicago, watched the Nuns Fire lap very close to his property on Sonoma Mountain, nearly destroying all he had. “This was a wake-up call to me and the entire community,” said Tim. “My family foundation has a clear interest in...

October 03, 2018

ACR mountain lion researcher Quinton Martins and veterinarian Winston Vickers were invited by WildFutures to share their work and insights in a webinar setting. They discussed the threats these animals face as a result of human population growth, habitat loss and fragmentation, effects of fire, and conflicts with livestock and pets.

The complete webinar, including audience questions, is included in this video file:

The Wildlife Webinar Series, hosted by WildFutures, includes the live presentations, recorded archives, pre-webinar interviews, and follow-up Q&A's, all on our...

August 29, 2018


Shorebirds are returning to the Bay Area for the winter, having spent the spring and summer nesting season as far north as the Arctic. Here Least Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope forage in the wetland habitat at ACR’s Toms Point Preserve. Tomales Bay is designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention....

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