Mountain Lion Tracking Goes High Tech

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department is conducting a new study using satellite technology to track mountain lions on edges of cities. Payson is one of the two test communities where the project will be held.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working with the University of Arizona on the mountain lion collaring study.

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A specially designed collar will be put on mountain lions captured in the Payson area, to study the behavior of lions living in close proximity to communities. After lions are caught and collared, they will be released back into the forest for a new tracking study.

"As people choose to live in more rural settings, they are moving closer and closer to mountain lion habitat," said Jim deVos, research branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish Department. "This new research effort will allow us to better study the movements of these animals and learn more about their behavior, which will benefit both the lions and the people who live in these areas."

Several mountain lions will be fitted with collars that use GPS technology. The collars will send messages to a satellite, and scientists will then be able to monitor the mountain lions' movements via computer.

The new mountain lion study is funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department Heritage Fund. More than a decade ago, Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the Heritage Fund, which gives money from lottery ticket sales to conservation efforts such as protecting endangered species, educating children about wildlife and providing information to help urban residents better coexist with wildlife.

This new study coincides with an Arizona Game and Fish Department informational campaign to help Tucson and Flagstaff residents better coexist with mountain lions. The campaign is providing helpful tips on safely living and recreating in mountain lion country, including the distribution of posters, brochures and door hangers and the posting of signs in recreation areas.

For more information on mountain lions, contact the local Arizona Game and Fish office at (520) 628-5376 or visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Web site at azgfd.gov.

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