Article abstract: Mountain lions (Puma concolor, puma, cougars) are top carnivores and important ecological regulators that roam widely throughout the San Diego County landscape. Puma concolor is a named species in regional conservation plans. Because of the extensive areas required by each mountain lion, multiple Natural Conservation Community Planning (NCCP) areas are often utilized by a single individual. Thus, connectivity within and between NCCPs is important for long-term health and persistence of mountain lions in the landscape, and proper NCCP function. In addition to the currently approved NCCP areas in Southern California, San Diego County is in advanced stages of preparing a conservation preserve design for its North County Multiple Species Conservation Program (NCMSCP). This research project uniquely combined camera, GPS-collar, and mortality data with state of the art genetic analyses and modeling, and an expert workshop, to produce the most comprehensive assessment to date of mountain lion habitat use and connectivity within, and adjacent to, the NCMSCP area. This study uniquely combined camera, GPS location, and mortality data from mountain lions in the region, with state of the art genetic analyses, advanced habitat and movement modeling, and expert opinion to provide as complete an assessment as has been done to date of the factors that affect mountain lion persistence in the NCMSCP and surrounding NCCP areas. The research team’s focus was to provide key information about mountain lion movement and wildlife connectivity that is currently lacking at puma-specific scales in the NCMSCP and adjacent NCCP areas in order to assist in prioritization of habitat for conservation of this species and others. The team also focused on informing highway planners about best locations for wildlife crossing improvements for highways in the area.
Number of pages: 108
Prepared by: Boyce, Walter; Ernest, Holly; Gustafson, Kyle; Vickers, Winston; Zeller, Kathy;
Keywords: corridors; genetic studies; mountain lion;
Species: Mountain lion