Hounds and lions

Yesterday we re-collared 27m in the Soquel Demonstration Forest, our big male that splits his time between Nisene Marks and Sierra Azul. After running a few hundred yards downhill, he climbed this big douglas fir and camped out there until we got a tranquilizer dart in him. This guy was one cool cucumber. Despite four dogs barking at the base of the tree, he was on the edge of falling asleep a few times. Our DFG houndsman, Cliff, recounted a story to me about a big male he treed years back who did fall asleep, and fell out of the tree (all before they actually tranquilized him). Well the impact of the fall woke him up, and he climbed another nearby tree to get away from the dogs.

I’ve always been amazed how cool these cats can be with dogs barking at the base of the tree making such a racket. Having co-evolved with wolves, these cats evolved the ability to climb trees mainly to avoid getting killed by their canid counterparts. In fact, mountain lions can live pretty much anywhere there are deer and escape terrain from dogs (think trees, large rocks etc). Once they are up in the tree, they know that dogs or wolves can’t get them, so why stress…

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