Study Finds California Mountain Lion Population Significantly Less Than Previous Estimates

California Department of Fish and Wildlife photo

A new study finds that Caifornia has less mountain lions than first thought. Here’s more from the Los Angeles Times:

The total number of mountain lions is estimated to be between 3,200 and 4,500, which is thousands fewer than previously thought. The count was conducted by state and university scientists who used GPS collar data and genetic information from scat samples to model population densities across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert and Southern California’s patchwork of weedy, fire-stripped wilderness.

“The greatest density is in the coastal forests of Humboldt and Mendocino counties of Northwest California, and lowest is the high desert east of the Sierra Nevada range in Inyo County,” said Justin Dellinger, a large-carnivore biologist and leader of the California Mountain Lion Project effort. “The Central Valley and portions of the Mojave Desert have no mountain lions.”  …

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had for decades estimated that the state’s mountain lion population was roughly 6,000 — even despite relentless vehicle strikes, wildfires and encroachment by land-hungry humans throughout their range.