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 Post subject: 2015 from Cougarmagic
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:40 pm 
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I don't post much, but I love seeing all your images. This year has been great for me to learn and challenge myself with new settings. Here are a few of my favorites from the past few weeks. I just upgraded to Photoshop from Lightroom, so this year I will see what PS has to offer.

This was a happy accident! I had set this camera to a 1/50 sec exposure, expecting the lion to travel at night. She surprised me at 2pm one day. Despite the overexposure, the image shows the contrast of her native habitat vs the cold city below.

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P41 avoided my setups at first. Having recently gone through the 'alien autopsy' experience getting his GPS collar, he was wary of anything different in his canyons and chose to jump up the slopes on the side rather than get his pic taken. He has since calmed down and let me get a couple of good shots.

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P41's baby-mama graced me with this image on a ridge above La Crescenta, CA. She should have two kittens, but just a few days ago one was taken in by Animal Services in Burbank. It's a tough life in the city.

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This bob helped me refine my settings for twilight.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:18 pm 
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so proud of you:-) awesome work, keep it up

Denis


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:39 pm 
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Love the bobcat pic.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:40 pm 
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I enjoy seeing the photos u do post... These are just like some of yours of the past ... Outstanding ... Congrats


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:07 pm 
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Thanks for posting these photos. Outstanding shots. Mountain lions are so adaptable. It challenges my assumptions to think that apex predators demand a completely balanced ecosystem. Weigh in on that. I'd appreciate your input.

Over the last few months I've talked to several well-respected lion researchers who are becoming skeptical of their own invasive research practices, namely treeing lions with dogs, tranquilizing, ear tags, heavy collar, more drugs to reverse the sedative, and the handling of the lion. They are beginning to question the cost to the lion versus the benefits of answering the questions of their research. I don't know if their position has merit or not. I am very interested in determining what percentage of their research questions could be answered by trail camera work that is very non-invasive. Maybe this should be moved to a coffee table topic. I'll let Sean decide.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:48 am 
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All the pics were great but the lion with the lighted city in the background is priceless. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:39 am 
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Awesome stuff! Congrats on a great season for you! The cougar with the city background and the bobcat shot are super special!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:28 pm 
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I too love these images, particularly the bobcat. As for researchers and the value of radio collating, there can be no doubt that collared animals can lead to far more discoveries than just casual observations. The question is: to what end is this information used? Do we use the knowledge to make sound political choices? If not, then all we have done is create jobs for wildlife academics.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:10 pm 
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Oh Yeah! Nice images...and especially like the bobcat.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:42 pm 
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co_bowhunter wrote:
It challenges my assumptions to think that apex predators demand a completely balanced ecosystem. Weigh in on that. I'd appreciate your input.


I think that's exactly what we're seeing in LA - that although lions like to roam huge distances, and like to be solitary, they can still be quite healthy in tiny patches and even share space with others, as long as conditions are right (there is enough food). One of the main things I noticed while talking with researchers here is that they keep saying the two most isolated males - P22 in Griffith Park (7 square miles) and P41 in the Verdugos (14 sq miles) will try to move out to find mates. After about three years of watching P22 with a collar, he has not done so, and we've watched P41 on cameras for over 4 years and he is happy there too - although he does have a girlfriend in there with him.

But although they can tolerate small patches of habitat, those patches need to have corridors to allow for new genes to be introduced. In the Santa Monica mountains, there has been severe inbreeding - One lion's father is also the father of her kittens! So far no weird problems like tail kinks or heart defects, but it still isn't a good situation. And capturing and blood testing is the only way to find that out, as well as if they have rodenticide poisoning, which is a huge problem.

co_bowhunter wrote:
Over the last few months I've talked to several well-respected lion researchers who are becoming skeptical of their own invasive research practices, namely treeing lions with dogs, tranquilizing, ear tags, heavy collar, more drugs to reverse the sedative, and the handling of the lion.
Thanks,


I think the collars provide way more information than the commercial cameras can. The blurry black and white images from a Bushnell (sorry, Bushnell...) don't allow us to see any detail that identifies individuals. But now with the DSLRs, we can see ear notches, scars, and fur patterns that have proven we can ID P41, his lady friend, and others. Still, if you look at the maps with collar data displayed it's amazing to see their movements and since we can't have cameras everywhere, I think it's still superior.

To what end? Well, in Montana maybe it's no big discovery that sometimes a lion takes off somewhere 500 miles away, or has to fight over food with wolves, or has 4 kittens but only 2 survive the first year. But here in a weird situation of urbanization (which will get more and more common) I think it's helpful to be able to see from the collars that lions go into the suburbs at night and walk popular hiking trails, and yet cause no problems other than the occasional chihuahua abduction.

Down here they rarely use dogs. Mostly foot snares which are padded and on bungee cords so the foot and leg aren't injured. The process is super streamlined, and they monitor the lion's temp every 5 minutes, cool them with water or warm them with blankets as needed and they give IV fluids as well. It's pretty crazy that the lions just pop up a few minutes after the reversal is given!

Yes, I'd rather they didn't have to wear a bulky collar. But for now, I think it's the best we can do and it is valuable.

It's all fascinating to me!!


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