puma, mountain lion
EcoJustice Radio Wildlife

On Mountain Lions: How to Embrace our Wild Predatory Relatives


EcoJustice RadioVenture into the wild heart of California with EcoJustice Radio as we explore the plight of the majestic mountain lion. Discover the urgent conservation efforts to protect these apex predators from the perils of urban sprawl, highways, and human encroachment. Join us for an enlightening journey that intertwines the wisdom of Indigenous folklore, expert interviews, and a documentary series to unveil the critical role of these elusive creatures in maintaining ecological balance.

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cougar, mountain lionProwling for Solutions: The Plight of Mountain Lions

California’s mountain lions, those elusive predators that roam the golden state’s diverse landscapes, are the focus of this episode of EcoJustice Radio. As we delve into the world of these magnificent creatures, we are confronted with the stark reality of their existence – a struggle against the relentless tide of human expansion and the fragmentation of their natural habitats.

Moreover, in this industrialized country, we have had a war on wild what we call “predators,” helicopter gunners shooting wolves to “protect” caribou herds in Alaska. Every day is open season on mountain lions in Nevada. Between 2000 and 2021, at least 4,229 mountain lions were killed in Nevada by hunters, trappers, and the state’s lethal removal effort, according to data from the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Humans are the greatest threat to mountain lions. In California, close to 40 million people live within, or adjacent to, cougar habitat.

STORY: Mountain Lions Manage Ecosystems: Not Sport Hunters

In this show, we explore the mountain lion’s vital role within the ecosystem. Seen through the lens of social justice, we consider the plight of these apex predators not as isolated beings but as integral components of a broader environmental narrative that affects us all. From the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada to the sprawling urban miasma, mountain lions traverse territories that are increasingly hemmed in by highways and housing developments. But what does this mean for their survival?

California Mountain Lions: The Legends of California

In this show we air parts of a documentary series called California Mountain Lions, Legends of California, by UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center. Featured speakers are Walter Boyce, UC Davis, Dave Garcelon, Institute of Wildlife Studies, T. Winston Vickers, Veterinarian, UC Davis, and Jessica Sanchez SoCal Puma Project, Eric Gagne, Post Doc, Colorado State Univ., Trish Smith, The Nature Conservancy, and Pablo Bryant, SDSU Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve. All provide insights into the mountain lions’ lives – from their hunting habits to the perils they encounter as they navigate a world dominated by humans.

We also share from Indigenous stories and mythology about the importance of predators like the big cats, or jaguars in their southern relatives.

We further include sections from an interview our host Jessica Aldridge did with Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director of National Wildlife Federation, focusing on mountain lion populations, wildlife connectivity, and existing and planned transportation crossings as a solution to protect wildlife.

More Info: https://mountainlion.org/2022/03/02/mountain-lion-minutes-the-archaeology-of-americas-lion/

mountain lions


Beth Pratt, California Regional Executive Director of National Wildlife Federation, joins us to discuss the importance of connectivity and wildlife crossings. She explains why they are an integral strategy in land and habitat conservation and why preserving biodiversity not only protects wildlife, but also all of us humans! Beth’s Website: http://www.bethpratt.com/
Save LA Cougars: https://savelacougars.org/

Jessica Aldridge,  Co-Host and Producer of EcoJustice Radio, is an environmental educator, community organizer, and 16-year recycling industry and Zero Waste leader. She is a co-founder of SoCal 350, organizer for ReusableLA, and founded Adventures in Waste. She is a former professor of Recycling and Resource Management at Santa Monica College, and an award recipient of the international 2021 Women in Sustainability Leadership and the 2016 inaugural Waste360, 40 Under 40. In her day job she is the Sustainability and Zero Waste Programs Director for Athens Services.

Jack Eidt is an urban planner, environmental journalist, and climate organizer, as well as award-winning fiction writer. He is Co-Founder of SoCal 350 Climate Action and Executive Producer of EcoJustice Radio. He is also Founder and Publisher of WilderUtopia, a website dedicated to the question of Earth sustainability, finding society-level solutions to environmental, community, economic, transportation and energy needs.

Podcast Website: http://ecojusticeradio.org/
Podcast Blog: https://www.wilderutopia.com/category/ecojustice-radio/
Support the Podcast: Patreon https://www.patreon.com/ecojusticeradio
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Stories read by Jack Eidt from “Old Man Coyote,” Crow/Apsáalooké People, in ‘Myths and Traditions of the Crow Indians’ by Robert Lowie, Univ of Nebraska Press, 1993. And “Origin of the Honey Festival,” Tembé People, in ‘From Honey to Ashes’ by Claude Levi-Strauss, Harper and Row Publishers, 1966.

Executive Producer and Host: Jack Eidt
Co-Host Jessica Aldridge
Engineer and Original Music: Blake Quake Beats
Episode 204

Updated 31 January 2024

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