The San Mateo Puma (56M) – One Year Later

56M GPS locations, May 2015 to May 2016.

  On May 18 2015, a young male puma wandered deep into San Mateo.  He was caught by California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens and transported back into nearby open space.  We met the wardens near the release site to place a collar on him. One year later, 56M is still roaming the scrubby […]

66M: The Early Bird Gets The Puma

Sunrise from Mt Umhunum.  Fog in the Santa Clara Valley, and the lights of New Almaden below.

My day started early today in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. I had been out since 5:30am searching for puma 26M in order to locate him for recapture. My plan was to start early and search for the radio signal from his tracking collar, and if I found him on property we had permission […]

38F: Catching a Thief

Three week old cub of puma 38F.  Photographed in July 2013.

We recaptured puma 38F last week.  She’s a 4 year old female. 38F’s previous claim to fame was being the star of a great web video that was produced by San Francisco’s KQED and the eventual mother of this cute little guy… Using radio-telemetry collars, like we do on this project, requires that we periodically […]

The Journeys of Young Pumas, and Welcome to Puma 56M

56M recovering and soon ready to continue searching for a territory

A young male puma was captured and returned safely to the wilds yesterday by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and San Mateo Police. As scientists studying pumas, we often receive questions about pumas when this happens. Usually the first questions are “Why does this happen?” and “Is it happening more frequently?” The short […]

Puma sighting on UCSC campus

Mountain lion

A UCSC Cruz Alert was sent out on November 28 warning of two mountain lions spotted near the base of the UCSC campus. Mountain lions do occasionally move through campus property, due to the many preserved acres of land in Upper Campus and Pogonip, and the adjacency of large protected areas including Wilder Ranch and […]

Mountain lion kills deer on camera.

We recently captured this rare footage of a mountain lion killing a deer fawn in front of one of our remote cameras. Notice that the puma is holding the neck of the fawn and the fawn occasionally tries to wriggle free. This appears to be the strategy by which pumas kill their prey (at least […]

How to tell if a lion or coyote killed a deer

Flattened grass from lion dragging its kill into the forest.

We frequently receive calls and messages from local landowners telling us about a fresh-dead deer in their yard.  This is fascinating information and helpful to our research – we’ve trapped and collared several mountain lions in this way.  In many cases, the deer was killed by a lion.  In many other cases, the deer was […]

Video: Female puma & cubs

  A trail camera we have posted at a puma scent marking site caught this brief glimpse into the busy life of a mother puma.  Believe it or not, despite hundreds or thousands of trail camera videos of pumas traveling, this is the first one we’ve captured of a mother traveling with tiny cubs.   […]

Into the Lion’s Den – 44M & 45M

IMG_0832

Lion 23F gave birth to a litter of kittens about 4 weeks ago near Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.  Our team visited her current nursery site today and found 2 feisty 5 ½ pound kittens, known to our project now as 44M and 45M.     We briefly handled them to fit them with […]

40F: Study enters a new phase

40F

Since the Santa Cruz puma study started in 2008 our research has focused on adult pumas.  Sure, we’ve taken cute photos of kittens to post on our blog (because those blue-eyed, dark-spotted, shaky-kneed kittens are just about the cutest things on 4 legs!), but from a research standpoint we haven’t focused much on them besides […]