ACR's Mountain Lion Project welcomed Alex Hettena to the team this month. Alex, a master's candidate in Environmental Science, will focus mostly on investigating the multitude of GPS "cluster" activity from our two collared mountain lions. Clusters are defined when a mountain lion spends 4 hours or more at any two locations less than 100m apart, possibly indicating a kill/feeding site. These kill sites not only offer tons of insight into mountain lion diet and behavior but also allow us to connect with landowners in order to gain access to the sites. Since our tracking activities began, 41 GPS location clusters over a 3 month period were identified for P1 in 2016. Of those, 12 were investigated and 10 found remains of feeding activity. All of the kill sites were deer of different ages. The largest of the deer recovered was a 6-point buck.

Each cluster investigated allows for a considerable amount of landowner education and outreach. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Illustrating this excitement is the story of Squire and Suzy Fridell, residents of Glen Ellen who were contacted by Dr. Quinton Martins after a GPS cluster was identified as coming from their property. The Fridells joined Quinton on a search for the deer kill and by chance encountered P1 resting quietly in the thicket. There, the trio quietly observed P1 for a good 15 minutes before, apparently bored by their presence, she casually walked away. "Suzy and I are STILL talking about the experience with Quinton and P-1! Thirty one years here at GlenLyon and my FIRST Mountain Lion sighting!!!" Squire wrote after the search. Other landowners have been encouraged to purchase their own motion-sensing cameras to monitor mountain lions and other wildlife.

Over the course of the past year, Quinton and the research team have conducted 11 public presentations to over 1,000 people, have met with private landowners on a one-on-one basis to either discuss mountain lion conservation, or to obtain permission and access to their properties for research and regularly communicate with over 2,000 local landowners via the social platform Nextdoor.

ACR's Mountain Lion Project depends on the interest and input from landowners throughout the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain ranges. If you live in the area or have an interest in sharing this project, please contact the team directly at [email protected].