New Joint Study to Track Mountain Lions

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department and University of Arizona last week announced the launch of a mountain lion collaring study that will use satellite technology to track mountain lions in the Tucson and Payson areas.

"As people choose to live in more rural settings, they are moving closer and closer to mountain lion habitat," said Jim deVos, research branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish Department. "This new research effort will allow us to better study the movements of these animals and learn more about their behavior, which will benefit both the lions and the people who live in these areas."

Several mountain lions will be fitted with collars that use GPS technology. The collars will send messages to a satellite, and scientists will then be able to monitor the mountain lions' movements via computer.

The featured speakers at the launch event for the mountain lion study included State Sen. Toni Hellon, District 26, who supports this important study for the residents and wildlife of the Tucson area. Gerry Perry, Tucson regional supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department; Dr. Pat Reid, director of the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resources; Dr. Paul Krausman, professor at the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resources; and deVos also talked about the study, which is just the latest in a string of collaborative efforts by the department and the university.

The new mountain lion study is funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund. More than a decade ago, Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the Heritage Fund, which gives money from lottery ticket sales to conservation efforts like protecting endangered species, educating children about wildlife, and providing information to help urban residents better coexist with wildlife.

This new study coincides with an Arizona Game and Fish Department informational campaign to help Tucson and Flagstaff residents better coexist with mountain lions. This campaign is providing helpful tips on safely living and recreating in mountain lion country, including the distribution of posters, brochures and door hangers and the posting of signs in recreation areas.