P1, Sonoma’s Engaging Supermom

P1, Sonoma’s Engaging Supermom

It’s been one year since ACR fitted our first Sonoma County mountain lion (P1) with a GPS collar. Late last month, we recaptured her to replace the collar’s battery and check on her overall health.

P1, our 10- to 11-year-old grande dame, has already provided us with reams of data as well as a window into the lives of these compelling cats. A stealthy supermom, she is also wowing us with her parenting skills. When we first began tracking her, P1 was traveling with two nearly grown offspring. We collared the female (P2) of the sibling duo in November 2016.

Off to new territories
Then, in late December, P1 sent both of her young adults packing right on schedule. Young mountain lions typically disperse from their mother at 12 to 18 months to establish their own territories.

ACR’s research team eagerly tracked P2’s dispersal. Where would she go? Who would she meet? Will she be a skilled hunter?

Meanwhile, P1 was quietly gestating her next litter. Although we expected as much, we were still as thrilled as new parents when P1 gave birth to three more kittens in late March 2017. Now six months old, the two surviving kittens are showing up on our field cameras with mom, providing a sneak peek into family life.

Captivating in the classroom
P1 and her kin are also padding their way into the hearts of local youth, through a new experiential classroom visit developed and pioneered last spring by Bouverie docents Elizabeth Martins and Sarah Zainfield.

Focused on understanding our wild neighbors, the school visits combine storytelling, science and creative expression. Students get to explore the special adaptations of local mammals and gain greater appreciation, identification skills and connection with them. Teachers are very enthusiastic, and our mountain lion education team is in even greater demand this fall.

We cannot study these beautiful wild neighbors without the help of so many committed landowners and a caring community. Thank YOU!

In the collection of photos below, you’ll see our team’s set-up for collecting measurements and bio-data swiftly and safely.