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POST – Peninsula Open Space Trust –  Part 2

The latest campaign to raise funds for the Living Landscape Initiative will benefit more than the beautiful redwood forest.  Yes, by saving the forest, we save the trees.  When we save the trees, we save the wildlife:  the mountain lions, the deer, the coyotes and other small animals and insects.  We also protect natural resources like our coastal waterways and finally, future generations will experience the trails and parks in the forests.

 In order to protect our wild animals we need large tracts of land.  Mountain lions are solitary creatures.  Their range is about 100 sq miles.  The juveniles want to stay away from the mature males and from time to time find themselves in harms way when they wander into our neighborhoods. Other mountain lions have been killed when they try to cross the highways. (Highway 17 that goes from San Jose, Ca. to Santa Cruz, Ca.) Hopefully, tunnels and bridges can be built along the highway to protect the animals’ safe passage.

 POST is starting their pursuit of funds to purchase 20,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains that will link to surrounding mountain ranges and thereby protect wildlife corridors.  Without such corridors, the mountain lions will be blocked from the coastal mountains and inbreeding will result in unhealthy animals.

 The people who know the most about the mountain lions in our area are involved with the Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP).  This is the first major study of wild cougars in the San Francisco Bay Area.  All of these photos come from their website.

 This project is a partnership between researchers at University of California at Santa Cruz, the California Department of Fish and Game and the conservationists from Felidae Conservation Fund.  In the past several years they have outfitted about 30 cougars (mountain lions) with GPS-accelerometer collars.

Humans and cougars need to co-exist. Before starting the research project, we didn’t know much about their movements, numbers, feeding habits and how humans were affecting their existence.  This is a 10-year project.

The trees themselves are important to the other animals.  One such animal is a small secretive bird that lives in the tops of the old-growth Redwoods and Douglas Fur trees.  The Marbled Murrelet is a small seabird that lays one egg at a time.  It travels up to 50 miles out to sea to catch its dinner and then returns to its nest in the forest.

It appears that conservation is complicated.  There are many facets to protection.  We humans may or may not be the cause of the downfall of our environment.  At any rate, we do need to help out so that we all profit and can ensure a lasting future.