The news is especially worrisome because some mountain lions are already showing signs of inbreeding defects, says Vickers. “We have detected or captured two lions with kinked tails, and they were the two most inbred animals in the population,” says Vickers. The Florida panthers also had these kinked tails at the same time that they were having other inbreeding-related issues, such as greater mortality and smaller litter size. “It does worry us that maybe we're starting to see the first signs of inbreeding-related physical abnormalities.”
The Santa Ana and Santa Monica mountain lions are not the only isolated population in California. There’s about six groups on the coast that are essentially “islands” or “semi-islands,” says Vickers. The results of the study are “clearly a warning that the current paths are going to result in all likelihood in multiple populations that have these same issues.”
Vickers - Demonstration - Areas - Highways - Malls
For Vickers, it’s a demonstration of just how impacted these areas have become by highways, shopping malls, and homes. “Here's a type of animal that’s incredibly mobile, basically leaps tall buildings in a single bound, they're really...