Narrator: This is Science Today. Wildlife ecologist Chris Wilmers of the University of California, Santa Cruz, spends most of his time studying the relationship between wild animals and human development. So it was no surprise that Wilmers was called into action when a young male mountain lion became trapped in an aqueduct in downtown Santa Cruz.
Wilmers: We got a call in the morning from the police and they were hoping that they could find a way to get the lion out of the city without killing it. My research team and I responded and we figured out a way to anesthetize the animal to safely get it out of there and move it back to a wild area.
Narrator: Wilmers leads the Puma Project, which tracks mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains to better understand their behavior and how habitat fragmentation affects them.
Wilmers: It's a pretty rare occurrence that pumas will go into urban areas. But sometimes you get a young animal that's leaving home for the first time, it's trying to find a new territory and in that process they'll make a mistake, they'll take a wrong turn somewhere and they'll end up in an urbanized area.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.