Zoo & Aquarium News

Oakland Zoo’s CSS Presents “Saving the Puma”

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@oaklandzoo.org.

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