Along the Food Chain with Michael Olson…
1089: Mountain Lions in the Hood
Justine Smith, Doctoral Student
University of California, Santa Cruz
Can people, predators and prey just get along?
We live next to a metropolitan greenbelt, which means we live in close proximity to wildlife, including mountain lions, which are also known as pumas.
A great drought recently brought the wildlife even closer to our neighborhood, as evidenced by “Missing Fluffy” signs posted everywhere. We have twice seen mountain lions in the local school yard, but only in the very early morning. And we believe one of the mountain lions made a kill on top of our home.
The kill took place on a warm summer night as we slept with windows wide open. In the middle of the night we were jerked out of sleep by the sounds of a terrifying fight up on the roof. The desperate sounds of the struggle froze us in place with the blankets pulled up to our chins. Finally, there was a death cry, then silence. The victor then took three great leaps– the last of which was from our roof to the neighbors– and was gone into the night. It was the great leaps that led us to believe it had to be a lion.
Yes, the mountain lions are around. And truth be known, we like the fact they are around. Our forebears, who lived with much less city and much more nature, would probably think us crazy for allowing the mountain lions to be so close. But we do!
Still, it’s a simple fact that ever more people will be moving into what’s left of nature, and that fact get’s us to wondering...
Can people and pumas just get along?
Food Chain Radio & Forums #1,089 (Tags: Wildlife in the city, Justine Smith, Wilmers Lab, Santa Cruz Mountain Lion Project)