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Guess What Mountain Lions Are Good At? Social Distancing

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P-19 Courtesy of the National Park Service
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Park rangers caught up this week with a mountain lion in the Santa Monica Mountains that they've tracked for a nearly a decade

P-19 was fitted with a radio collar when she was just three weeks old. She is the oldest surviving mountain lion with the National Park Service's tracking program to study mountain lions.

Ranger Mithra Derakshan says biologists replaced her GPS collar, and gave her a clean bill of health:

"She's had about four litters here inside the Santa Monica Mountains, so, thanks to her, we've been keeping up that population of mountain lions, because we do have a threatened population of mountains lions here, they have many challenges."

Rangers say in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, we could take some cues from mountain lions — because they're naturally aloof.
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Derakshan called mountain lions "experts at social distancing."

"They are solitary animals," she explained. "Male mountain lions, they like to have up to 200 square miles of home range, so they're very good at keeping their distance."

Parking lots in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which many of of the big cats call home, are already closed.

The need to socially distance and to keep people off crowded trails was part of the first live video discussion conducted by rangers last week. They talked about the hard decisions being made at a time when many people crave time in nature. [Note: The mountain lion talk begins about 6 minutes into the talk.]

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