Currently Permitted Mountain Lion Research Projects

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 4810, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife may issue a Scientific Collecting Permit to entities for research projects involving mountain lion captures. See below, Executive Summary of CDFW-permitted mountain lion projects currently occurring in California.

UC-Davis Wildlife Health Center Mountain Lion Research Project

University of California, Davis - Wildlife Health Center
Dr. Winston Vickers, DVM, MPVM & Dr. Fernando Najera, DVM, Ph.D. (co-directors)

In southern and central California, this study examines the impacts of development on connectivity and mountain lions where the landscape is highly fragmented by urban development, highways and light-rail infrastructure. Project study areas include the Eastern Penninsular Range, Santa Anna Mountains, Tehachapi Range, Gabilan Range and Pacheco Pass. This research will expand knowledge regarding mountain lion disease and toxin exposure, genetics, and interactions with humans, and domestic animals in a highly urbanized landscape.

In northeastern California, UC Davis and the Institute for Wildlife Studies (led by Dave Garcelon and his team) study investigates mountain lion ecology and interactions with pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer, and wild horses in Modoc and northern Lassen Counties to understand impacts of mountain lions on these big game species.

Links: UC Davis California Carnivore Project

Santa Cruz Puma Project

University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr. Chris Wilmers, PhD.

Since 2009, this project evaluates the relationship between landscape features, energetic demand, physiological capabilities, and foraging strategies in the puma. Developing an understanding of the physiological demands and ecology of large predators in fragmented habitats is crucial to the conservation of these species and their impacts on ecosystem processes.

Project Website

Sonoma Mountain Lion Project

Audubon Canyon Ranch
Dr. Quinton Martins, Ph.D.

This project is focused on the habitat and foraging patterns of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in the fragmented landscape of California’s San Francisco North Bay Area. Further, this project conducts community outreach and education of research findings and works to increase public awareness of the ecological benefits of mountain lions in an attempt to foster coexistence between people and large carnivores.

Hoopa Mountain Lion Project

Integral Ecology Research Center
Dr. Greta Wengert, PhD

This project examines the impacts of illegal marijuana cultivation on mountain lion ecology, such as movement and foraging patterns.

IERC Website

Santa Monica Mountain Lion Project

National Park Service
Dr. Seth Riley, PhD

This project examines movement and demographic patterns in of a genetically isolated mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the adjacent Simi Hills, Santa Susana Mountains, and Verdugo Mountains. This study is guiding efforts to restore wildlife connectivity in this highly fragmented landscape.

Project Website

Statewide Mountain Lion DNA Biopsy Darting Project

USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services
Mr. Dennis Orthmeyer, State Director

Bay Area Livestock-Carnivore Interactions Project

Panthera & Midpennisula Regional Open Space District

Dr. Veronica Yovovich

This project is evaluating the efficacy of various non-lethal carnivore deterrent methods within San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties on Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserve lands. Methods to be tested include: audio deterrents, visual deterrents, and psychological-physical deterrents such as turbo-fladry. Deer will be salvaged for use as bait for the experimental tests. No mountain lions or other carnivores (i.e., coyotes, and bobcats)& will be captured and handled for this study.