In North America, mountain ranges are a favorite of wildlife photographers because they can be found across large areas of land, making them the perfect spot for wildlife tracking and identification.
But it’s the rugged, rocky terrain surrounding them that makes them an ideal place for wildlife to hunt, so the National Park Service has worked with the U.S. Geological Survey to design a system that will allow mountain lions to thrive in the forests around the country.
A new program developed by the National Parks Conservation Association, the North American Mountain Lion Foundation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will allow park rangers and park visitors to identify mountain lion tracks in areas where there is already a mountain lion presence.
The system, dubbed the “Great Lakes Mountain Lion Track Detection and Recovery Program,” is set to launch in mid-2018, and the park ranger will be able to track mountain lions by following their tracks to where they are likely to have gone during the day, or at night.
The program, which will use GPS to detect mountain lion footprints in forested areas and highlands in North Carolina and Indiana, is one of several initiatives in the park’s program to improve wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes region.
The program has already helped track the mountain lion population in the mountains around Lake Erie, which has increased significantly in the past few years.
“These are habitats that have historically been very degraded, and it’s a real challenge to find good wildlife habitat,” said NPMFA president and CEO Jim Karpinski.
“We’re excited that our team of rangers is finally going to be able help with that effort.”