Washington State Conservationists Track Pumas’ Health and Movements with Radar Technology

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Conservationists are actively searching for pumas. To preserve, not to kill. They use advanced technology to monitor the health and movements of big cats. 

Three pumas or Cougars are being monitored by the Olympic Cougar Project, Panthera on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula. This organization is committed to conserving 40 wildcat species worldwide.

The collars of the big cats emit radio signals. This technology was created in Africa to combat elephant poaching.

“Earth Ranger provides us a visual tool to just see in live motion all the animals on the landscape,”One conservationist stated. “I can’t even exaggerate how big amount of time we were investing in doing all this stuff to figure out where cats are. All of that’s automated now.”

But what conservationists say they’ve been tracking is alarming them and could hurt the local species’ chances of survival.

“Right here on the Olympic Peninsula, they appear to be isolated from the remainder of Washington State,”They explained.

“And so the Interstate Five is kind of like a noose, and it’s turning the peninsula into an island. They’ll be contained, and there’ll be breeding opportunities amongst themselves, but over time, that’s a terrible thing.”

It will become a problem over time due to inbreeding which could affect the genetics of future generations. 

Conservationists are currently working hard to conserve the species. 

“We essentially want to know that the Olympic Peninsula is healthy,”They noted that “and the best way to do that is to see if wildlife are able to move from the Olympic Peninsula to the Cascades and back.

“We all know that this ecosystem is stronger, more resilient, and healthier because of the presence and activity of these animals.