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C. Tracking the Activity of Mountain Lions

Narrator: This is Science Today. It's estimated there are about four thousand to six thousand mountain lions in the state of California - and although lion sightings are still considered rare, as urban populations continue to extend into the wildlands, conflicts between people and lions are becoming more common. Walter Boyce, director of the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis, has been using satellite GPS collars to track the activity of lions.

Boyce: When lions live close to people, they'll feed on domestic animals. Essentially, lions are opportunists and they're going to feed on whatever's available to them. So part of what we're trying to do is to really generate the information that will allow people to make good decisions about their own personal safety, as well as the safety of their own animals.

Narrator: Boyce's field research in southern California has determined that over all, mountain lions do a good job avoiding interaction with humans.

Boyce: The lions were not too far away from the people. They were within a few hundred yards at most while people were out doing their thing. But people were, by and large, unaware of them.

Narrator : For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.