"Penned in by freeways, LA’s big cats face extinction – but a new wildlife crossing might be the answer"
"The lingering stench from putrefying deer carcasses is so powerful in Richie King’s pickup truck that his neighbours once reported him to the police. The suspicious plastic boxes behind our seats are empty today, he promises, chuckling, as we drive into California’s Sierra Azul mountains.
But we are both hoping the smell of fermenting roadkill proves irresistible for an elusive predator in these hills: mountain lions.
King, a wildlife biologist, spends his days setting camera traps at bait sites for the big cats. If they feed on the deer or he finds a kill site, he returns with a cage and collars the mountain lion so it can be tracked by the Santa Cruz Puma Project, overseen by Prof Chris Wilmers at UC Santa Cruz. Data from this area, surrounded by Silicon Valley, farmland and the Pacific Ocean, is vital to understanding the threats to the species in the region."
Patrick Greenfield reports for the Guardian February 22, 2020.