Mountain Lions 'Go West' from Nevada into California
October 5, 2012
The American West has always held a certain allure. Its rugged terrain has captivated our collective imagination for centuries, with Horace Greeley's oft-quoted mantra "Go West, young man" sending adventurous souls towards the Pacific. A new study on mountain lions, conducted in part by WCS, shows that our country's biggest feline predators are doing the same.
For nearly a decade, biologists collected data from nearly 800 individual predators to better understand genetic information and movement patterns. They expected to see mountain lions moving from California into Nevada--where legal hunting leads to vacated territories--but they discovered that a number of big cats are instead venturing towards California, where it's thought that lush terrain offers better living conditions and more abundant prey.
Speaking about these findings, WCS co-researcher Jon Beckmann said, “It gives us a better picture of how lions are moving on the landscape. We predicted we would have more lions coming in from California. We were surprised the Sierra itself was a net importer.”