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A Tale of Two Mountain Lions

Using GPS radio collar technology, National Park Service biologists are studying the behaviors of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. As these large cats fight for survival, some are killed while attempting to cross congested freeways.  Some are even poisoned by rodenticides that find their way up the food chain.

Since 2002, the National Park Service has tracked more than 30 mountain lions using GPS radio-collars. Currently, it's tracking 11 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to KCET environmental journalist Chris Clarke.

Cara Santa Maria parallels the stories of P-22 and P-32, two mountain lions who successfully departed the Santa Monica Mountains by crossing multiple freeways, only to find troubling fates in the world beyond. P-22 gained nationwide attention after a National Geographic photographer snapped a picture of him posing in front of the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park.  He's one of many mountain lions outfitted with collars by the National Park Service.

What needs to be done in order to protect and coexist with a dwindling population that is often caught in the crossfire of an urban sprawl? Some suggest wildlife crossings to sustain the mountain lion population. But is that enough? How is urbanization
impeding the health and wellness of these mountain lions?

(Banner photo courtesy of the National Park Service).

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Miguel Ordenana, Natural History Museum of LA County
  • Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, National Wildlife Federation
  • Jeff Sikich, National Park Service
  • Seth Riley, National Park Service

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