Humans are the biggest threat to California’s mountain lions

A mountain lion keeps watch while her juvenile cubs feed at a bait sight. The mother, known to scientists as F92, is one of the two known offspring of the only male detected in the Santa Ana Mountains that genetically groups with lions east of Interstate 15. Busy highways and growing urbanization in the area threaten pumas in southern California and have led to their genetic decay, a UC Davis study found.
A mountain lion keeps watch while her juvenile cubs feed at a bait sight. Credit: UC Davis

Southern California mountain lions are in peril, and we’re their number one enemy, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis.

Their comprehensive 13-year study determined that humans caused more than half the known deaths of mountain lions studied, even though hunting mountain lions is prohibited in California.

Most deaths were attributed to vehicle collisions, depredation permits, illegal shootings, public-safety removals or human-caused wildfire. Read on to find out how the species’ genetic hopes could come down to one lone female lion – Humans are the biggest threat to California’s mountain lions.

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