Since late February, Living with Lions team has captured six lions spanning the southern Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain area. Two of these lions were study subjects recaptured to replace failing GPS collar batteries and check overall health. Four others are new lions in our study and their movements are already giving us a better understanding of the lion landscape.
P6, who is the surviving offspring from P1’s 2017 litter of three, was captured weeks prior to her dispersal from mom. Since leaving ‘home,’ P6, now 13 months old, has proven to be a good hunter as indicated by the remains of a couple of large does cached at one of her feeding sites.
P8 and P9, daughter and mom, were spotted by quick thinking Taylor Mountain Regional Park personnel. Working together, our team set traps and managed to capture both lions. The four-month-old kitten, too small for a collar, was checked for overall health, biological samples taken and given an ear tag for identification. We will attempt to place a GPS collar on her once she reaches 11-12 months. Mom is estimated to be 9 years old.
Just last week we captured P10 in our rebuilt and refined walk-thru electronic cage-trap designed by ACR’s Quinton Martins. The new trap iteration utilizes a more efficient trigger mechanism based on Quinton’s old leopard traps while pushing the boundaries in animal safety by using nylon netting for the doors to minimize chance of injury for the cat. Volunteer and retired engineer Bob Hasenick assisted the project by rebuilding and modifying the electronic actuator mechanisms. The oldest lion in our study, P10 is estimated to be about 12-years-old and has captivated our staff in recent months as she and her cub triggered wildlife cameras at Bouverie Preserve—a welcome sight in the post-fire landscape. We hope to collar her cub before it disperses.
In coming months, the results from DNA samples will be able to tell us more about the relationships between these lions.