Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, from 6:30pm – 9:00pm, Oakland Zoo welcomes the public to attend a Conservation Speaker Series focused on conservation efforts to save mountain lions. These Big Cats are in crisis, facing increased conservation issues each year as humans encroach further into their habitat. Speaker Zara McDonald, Founder and Director, of Felidae Conservation Fund and Bay Area Puma Project will highlight where in the Bay Area the pumas have been found, how they are being tracked, and why the human versus wildlife conflict has become a hot button topic in California. Ms. McDonald will captivate cat lovers with video clips that show viewers the similarities between Big Cat behaviors and those of domestic cats.
“Mountain lions are essential members in Bay Area ecosystems and we are thrilled that Oakland Zoo has made a strong commitment to the California lion through their participation in the research and conservation work of the Bay Area Puma Project,” said Zara McDonald, Founder and Director, Felidae Conservation Fund and the Bay Area Puma Project.
Oakland Zoo has partnered with Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP) to do field studies, perform veterinary care when needed, and help with collaring the cats. Working with landowners and state agencies, BAPP scientists are using custom GPS-accelerometer collars to track and record pumas and their activities on a continual basis. This research will help biologists to develop new conservation and land use strategies – to minimize human – puma conflict, and foster a healthy co-existence between humans and pumas in the region.
“Being a conservation-based institution committed to the conservation of native species, Oakland Zoo is very excited to contribute to the protection of our own apex predator, the mountain lion,” said Amy Gotliffe, Oakland Zoo Conservation Director. “We are poised to take a significant role in the work being done to help the Bay Area become a region that can co-exist with these magnificent cats. For that reason we support the research and outreach being conducted by the Bay Area Puma Project and look forward to a continued strong partnership.”
Besides partnering with BAPP, Oakland Zoo has also become a collaborator with California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Plans are now in place for Oakland Zoo veterinarians to assist with emergencies and provide temporary housing for mountain lions captured in the Bay Area.
“With the passage of SB 132, the CA Department of Fish & Wildlife looks forward to working with Oakland Zoo as an authorized organization to assist with the handling of mountain lions which have been classified as ‘potential human conflict mountain lions,’” said Capt. Steve Riske, CA Dept., Fish & Wildlife. “The professional expertise and the resources that Oakland Zoo has to offer will act as a significant asset to the Department.”
Wednesday, March 5 is an open invitation to the public to learn more about the Bay Area Puma Project, your Zoo’s role in mountain lion conservation, and the new steps being taken to assist with human- wildlife conflict.
The Conservation Speaker Series will take place in Oakland Zoo’s Zimmer Auditorium, located in the lower entrance of the Zoo. Parking is free and the admission price for the evening’s speaker presentations is $12.00 – $20.00 per person (sliding scale). All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Bay Area Puma Project.
For additional information about Oakland Zoo’s Conservation Speaker Series, please contact Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director, at amy(at)oaklandzoo(dot)org.
ABOUT PUMAS: The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is also known as the puma, cougar, and panther, and is the largest wild cat in North America. Mountain lions have powerful limbs and can leap as high as eighteen feet and as far as thirty feet. As puma habit is increasingly fragmented and movement corridors are blocked by human development, more sightings and encounters with pumas are likely. Pumas are being killed more often by cars and depredation permits (issued when livestock or pets are attacked), and increasing news reports of puma encounters are driving growing public concern. With human encroachment continuing to degrade wildlife habitat, it is vital to address these conflicts before ecosystems are compromised irreversibly. Our communities benefit from co-existing with all species, in rich and diverse natural systems, in order for wild lands to sustain for future generations.
ABOUT BAY AREA PUMA PROJECT: The Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP) was launched in 2008 by Felidae Conservation Fund to research and safeguard healthy puma populations and their key habitat patches in and around the greater SF Bay Area. With its unique combination of pioneering puma research, multi-faceted community engagement, hands-on education and effective conservation action, the intent is to raise ecological awareness, reduce human-wildlife conflict and cultivate healthy co-existence between humans and the region's top apex predator. http://www.bapp.org/
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO: The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. http://www.oaklandzoo.org