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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Young California mountain lion roams 100 miles between beach and mountains

A courageous young mountain lion who recently survived a coastal fire and has successfully crossed cities and the 91 freeway has lived a “fascinating life” so far, but the researchers who track him find him worrying about his future. Only 50% to 60% have given multiple hazards. survival rate.

For the past few weeks, the nearly 20-month-old lion has been moving south of 5 Highway and 73 Toll Road, and in some cases, passing through the communities of Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Corona. Del Mar. First he ran into the open door of an Irvine building.

The cat, which is being tracked with a signal from the collar, has traveled more than 100 miles (as the crow flies) across Southern California in about eight weeks, traveling from the Santa Ana Mountains to the beach and back.

Primarily, he has used greenbelts, rivers and concrete culverts to travel, but he is also the first cougar documented to successfully cross the heavily traveled 91 freeway. It has passed under 5 freeways and is cruising along the southern side of the 73 toll road.

“It’s rather miraculous,” said Dr. Winston Vickers. Wildlife veterinarians have been tracking mountain lions in California for decades as part of the California Mountain Lion Project at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center. “I worry (what happens) if it becomes hard for him to navigate around all the traffic and other hazards.”

Known as M317, the cat is doing what young males do: establishing their own territory. While it faces danger when it comes to more urban areas, it also faces threats from larger and larger male lions.

“If it goes back to the mountains, it has to find a place where there are no established males,” Vickers said, adding that the lion’s territory usually spans about 125 square miles. “Sometimes, they have to fight their way out.”

The M317 is still at least 30 pounds lighter than most older men, which can weigh up to 160 pounds—five and seven people can live in the Santa Ana Mountain Range, which runs from Riverside County to San Diego County.

“They can definitely kill him,” Vickers said of the big cats. “The smaller lion may be able to run away, but if the larger male wants to kill him, he can.”

Young California Mountain Lion Roams 100 Miles Between Beach And Mountains

collar in march

M317 got his ID in March after he was found running around Irvine. He stunned customers at a hair salon before running through an open nearby door for ventilation in a business park. That’s where Irwin Animal Control, Dr. Scott Weldy, with the help of a Lake Forest veterinarian who treats local wildlife and cares for large mammals at the OC Zoo, caught him.

Vickers said the M317 probably traveled through a drainage channel outside Great Park. There is a possibility that the animal appeared from it in broad daylight and then hid. But, something must have thrown him in the open, following which the police and animal control chased him.

“He saw an open door that might have looked like an escape hatch, and then they darted it,” Vickers said.

Weldi took the cat back to his office for observation and for a physical exam. While there, Weldi asked Vickers if he needed a blood sample and whether he was interested in putting on a collar. A few days later, M317 was towed high into the Santa Ana Mountains, wearing the tracker now telling researchers of its movements.

It wasn’t long before the M317 left its perch in rocky terrain. Since that time, he has made a full circle of the mountain range. The cat moved back west, then south, then east towards Corona. That’s where they crossed the 91 freeway, Vickers said.

on the move

From there, it crossed under 5 freeway toward Irvine, turned back over the mountain range, crossed back under 91, and then headed toward the mountains. But, then it turns and ends with 241 toll road. At that point, he made an unexpected detour and travels back to where he was freed for the first time since the Irwin mischief.

But the border did not suit him – perhaps because other lions already control those territories?

The M317 turned back to the south, sliding quietly through Aliso and Trabuco Bay. He used a concrete flood channel to go under the 5 Freeway and wound his way across the Greenbelt towards Laguna Beach.

She was spotted on May 8 by a resident and Laguna Beach police officer. Both reported that he responded with reasonable fear and fled. In one case, erecting an eight-foot fence in a single jump in the backyard of the house.

But within an hour he was out of town.

“He was really moving,” Vickers said.

Just before the coastal fire broke out in Aliso Canyon on May 11, where it consumed 200 acres and destroyed 20 ridgetop homes, the young lion made it across the busy and winding Laguna Canyon Road and headed north toward Crystal Cove State Park. moved towards.

In some cases, moving firefighters and equipment around would scare a mountain lion into turning to scorched earth, Vickers said, causing severe burns to their claws and death from starvation or euthanasia. was required.

M317’s collar, which usually emits a signal every four hours depending on its ability to connect to the satellite, indicated that it had turned west and looked around the Buck Alley Reserve in Corona del Mar, which is adjacent to the houses. He went east again until he could get there.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said that all along, they occupied greenbelts and conservation lands south of 73 and have never posed a threat to public safety.

“He follows every little scrap of habitat,” Vickers said in a review of his tracking data on Thursday, May 19. Now, he’s moving back to familiar territory he’s been in before, at Crystal Cove State Park. He may pass 73, and he may head east and end at 5 and attempt to return to the Santa Ana Mountains.

“He’s a wandering young male who sticks his nose in any crane, just like he did when he was caught in Irvine.”

life of a lion

World Nation News Desk
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