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Photo of the Day: Bobcat Jumping Tree to Tree in Sherman Oaks

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After reading that one of our local mountain lions was lingering near the 405 Freeway a couple weeks ago, former Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council President Ken Gersten shared some photos his wife took last December in the neighborhood on 3600 block of Longridge Avenue, between Muholland and Ventura.

"The location is right near open space, which is also contiguous with Franklin Canyon, farther south, and Wilacre Park, areas that we know have bobcats," wrote Seth Riley, a local wildlife ecologist with National Park Service, over e-mail after looking at the photos. "There is a student at Cal State Northridge that we've been working with who has been looking at bobcat population genetics and distribution in these areas using DNA from scat. However, I do think it is pretty interesting that bobcats are in these pretty fragmented, urban areas east of 405."

Riley says safety around bobcats is not much of a concern. "[People] should certianly not go around trying to pick them up or anything, but the only cases that I have ever heard of of a bobcat even biting someone is when they're rabid," he wrote noting that bobcat populations don't carry rabies, but any mammal can get and transmit it, including humans. "Normal, healthy bobcats will run away from people, especially if they get too close." Still, since bobcats are strict carnivores, cats and small dogs are possible prey, but those cases are more common with coyotes.

The number of bobcats in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area is unknown, but the National Park Service has captured and marked nearly 200 of them--split between the Western part of the mountains and the Simi Hills--over the past 12 years.

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"Bottom line," Riley exclaims, "they are very cool animals that we are lucky to live near, and occasionally get a glipmse of!"