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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cougar surprise

Rod Jackson, the leading expert on snow leopard conservation has set a record for turn around time on cougar pictures. He made his camera set in Sonoma county last Tuesday (April 15) and the cat came the next morning at 7:00. That is NOT what usually happens when you are aching for pictures of cougars or bobcats.

Here's his message to me earlier today:

"The camera was angled approx 3 feet away looking down on the rock. It spent less than 10 seconds sniffing before leaving. In the next shot it is already 10 meters down the riparian strip.

"The white lines you see on the right are plastic water pipes for an irrigation system. As I said, I picked this place because of the success you have had with scenting mossy rocks. Since there was a reasonably fresh fox-sized scat there, adding a camera and bobcat scent was a simple, logical next step. A lion had killed a deer 100 m away some months back, but it was clearly too old and nothing remained to be an attractant in this case.

"What do you think about the cat's age and sex? (Codger: definitely a young adult.)

Do I detect a young male? (Codger: Yes, the equipment seems right.)

For cougar pictures on scented mossy rocks, see here, here, and here.


Mr. Smiley said...

The west seems to be crawling with Mountain Lions. Let's hope this doesn't encourage the shooters.

Hugh said...

Congratulations to Dr. Rod!


I was bumbling around on Google Earth the other night and became absorbed by all the orange dots representing sasquatch sightings. One was linked to a muddy footprint. My 8-yr-old son, playing some game on the second computer, briefly looked over his shoulder and asked what I was looking at. "Sasquatch footprint," I said.

"There's no such thing as sasquatches," he said.

I was impressed by his certitude and youthful wisdom. Then I thought, do the sasquatch-crowd not know about camera traps?

Then I searched your blog for bigfoot, for you of anyone I know about must have dealt with the issue, and came to your gripping story :


They really ought to attend your next workshop. (The sasquatch aficionados, not the sasquatches.)

Anonymous said...

I love seeing the photos of Mountain Lions, and this one is especially beautiful. If anyone is interested, Dr. Jackson will be speaking in Sonoma as part of the Sonoma Birding groups lecture series! We are so lucky to have access to amazing people like him here in the Bay Area! Here are the details:


Dr. Rodney Jackson
Saving the Elusive Snow Leopard
Thursday, June 5, 7:30 pm

To inquire further or register, call the Sonoma Community Center
276 East Napa Street 707.938.4626


Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks Hugh. Yes, the only images of Sasquatch that we get resemble the hairy bear-looking variety.

Maggie's suggestion is well worth the effort for those within driving distance of Sonoma. Rod Jackson's work in the remotest parts of the world has done a great deal for the survival of snow leopards and the role of local communities therein. It is simply amazing stuff, and he is a totally committed conservationist with a fascinating story to tell. His camera trap pictures of snow leopards and their habitats are just something else again.