This blog has been reporting frequently on the problems faced by cougars in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
In those areas the big cats face problems with human contact and inbreeding. Both counties have cougar populations but the areas are fragmented and that is leading to inbreeding and traffic collisions.
Statewide most of the resident cougars, estimated to be as many as 6,000, are under the purview of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Others, specifically those in the Santa Monica Mountains, are part of a 20-year-old study by the National Park Service.. (NPS).
NPS has overseen many of the best-known cougars, including P-22. He is the famous Griffith Park cougar. He was 11 years-old last year and still healthy but he is in the upper age bracket for cougars. More than 100 cougars have been studied in the project, but quite a number have died over the years in car accidents or from conflict caused by overcrowding.
In California, the CDFW ensures that viable cougar populations survive anywhere in the state where suitable conditions exist. Most of the state can support cougars, and maintaining populations is a complex conservation challenge. Since 2014 a conservation program has been in effect. It coordinates scientific research and population monitoring. It recognizes that big game management, species management plans and habitat conservation and protection efforts need to be coordinated. The goals are reducing inbreeding, regulating human-cougar interactions and better understanding cougar relations with prey animals.
According to the CDFW website “The Department is pursuing many actions toward managing mountain lions, including coordination with federal, state, and non- governmental organization partners on projects to improve habitat connectivity, and to increase public outreach and education.”