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Loss of animal unfortunate, rangers say presence indicates healthy habita

Posted: May 20, 2009 9:13 p.m.
Updated: May 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A mountain lion was found dead in the center divider of Interstate 5 just south of Calgrove Boulevard on Tuesday.

The female mountain lion, which weighed more than 90 pounds, with paws stretching more than 6 inches in width, was apparently hit by a car, said Dash Stolarz, Mountain Recreation and Conservation Authority public affairs director.

Conservation Authority Ranger Ken Nelson drove to the scene after hearing reports of the dead animal lying in the road, Stolarz said. The ranger helped Caltrans crews load the mountain lion into a truck before transferring the large cat to a local California Fish and Game office, where the animal will be tested for diseases, she said.  

“The mountain lions here are reflective of the health of our mountain range,” she said. The mountain lion’s place as the top predator in the area makes the animal a fairly accurate gauge for the health of the forest, Stolarz added.

The mountain lion’s death was unfortunate, but a sighting of such an elusive animal is a good sign. “This shows us that the habitat is healthy and supporting such a large predator,” Stolarz said.

Mountain lion sightings are rare and very seldom mean danger for the human who happens to catch a glimpse of the cat.

“In general mountain lions won’t attack. They are very shy animals,” Stolarz said.

If a person sees a mountain lion contact California Fish and Game at (858) 467-4201.



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