Sonoma County tracks long-range exploits of male mountain lion

A mountain lion fitted two months ago with a GPS tracking device has traveled at least 200 miles, crossing two rivers, since then, researchers say.|

An energetic young mountain lion dubbed “Paul” when he was captured, tranquilized and collared with a GPS tracking unit near Jenner in January has trekked more than 200 miles since then, roaming as far as the community of Manchester on the Mendocino Coast.

That’s the latest word from Audubon Canyon Ranch, under whose Living with Lions research project Paul, or P14, and six other cougars are being tracked around Sonoma County and neighboring territories.

P14’s travel records include visits to Fort Ross, Guerneville and Sea Ranch; significant elevation gains; some U-turns and crossing both the rain-filled Russian and Gualala rivers, said Wendy Coy, communications manager with Audubon Canyon Ranch.

It also required air travel by biologist Quinton Martins, who availed himself of two private flights offered when the satellite function on the puma’s collar failed and Martins feared he’d lost track of the cat for good.

Martins finally snooped around the forests in Sea Ranch, where Paul was recently seen peering into someone’s home, and managed to download the GPS data on the mountain lion’s collar and change the settings.

The lion, estimated at 2½ years old, was enrolled in the research program in early January after preying on two fenced llamas kept at a rural home near Pomo Canyon and Jenner. The owners allowed Martins to use one of the llamas to lure the cougar back the next night so it could be collared and tracked henceforth.

If you see a fresh mountain lion kill, you can call Quinton Martins at 707-721-6560.

Mary Callahan

Environment and Climate Change, The Press Democrat

I am in awe of the breathtaking nature here in Sonoma County and am so grateful to live in this spectacular region we call home. I am amazed, too, by the expertise in our community and by the commitment to protecting the land, its waterways, its wildlife and its residents. My goal is to improve understanding of the issues, to find hope and to help all of us navigate the future of our environment. 

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