Mountain lions are some of the most iconic animals in the western hemisphere. But while we make plenty of room for them in our cultural imagery, we don’t always consider them when planning our landscapes. Mountain lions, or pumas, are rather shy apex predators that require a lot of space. The many green spaces in and around the San Francisco Peninsula provide a lot of great habitat, but not everyone is comfortable living in such close proximity to such big cats. And without careful planning the habitat will be too fragmented, divided by highways and developments, to support a healthy breeding population. As the area’s human population and footprint grows, the pumas’ habitat shrinks.
Standing at the top of the food chain, pumas are a good indicator of ecological health. If they can’t survive here, it’s a good chance our landscape isn’t in very good shape.
This issue is so stark that the Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP) was created specifically to address it. The Puma Project works to increase public knowledge and understanding of local puma populations, their needs and the realities of human/puma interactions. The hope is that sharing this knowledge, conducting cutting edge research and encouraging habitat conservation will keep mountain lion populations, and our collective environment, healthy. Find out more at the Bay Area Puma Project website.