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Tracking the lions of the Santa Monica Mountains

June 11, 2009 |  5:27 am

How do you keep track of the lions of the Santa Monica Mountains? Laist's Zach Behrens went to found out, and came back with a cool map and a story about nanny cams for mountain lions:

The technology used to track the lions is improving fast. Today, the collars send GPS signals to a satellite that are downloaded at park headquarters in Thousand Oaks. They get a handful of locations every 24 hours, one during the day and one every two hours at night, when they are most active. But the more pings they get, the faster the batteries die. "Getting animals and changing collars is not a simple task," said Ray Sauvajot, Chief of Planning, Science and Resource Management for the Recreation Area. If a collar change is needed, rangers try to use a back up VHF signal on the collar and traps set in remote locations are checked daily. The tracking of each cat tells a different story, although their lives are all intertwined.