California Wildfires: An Annual Disaster For Mountain Lions

The sky has been taken over by a demon in California.
The menacing, crimson-red grin tearing apart the once
bright, pale leaves on the trees. The grass perishes into
ashes never to be seen again. A limping mountain lion
and two ash-covered cubs dart around the gushing
flames and onto the highway. Before they know it, their
bodies touch the metal frame of the car and slowly fall
onto the tar road heading to heaven.

Captain Cal is a 4-pound California mountain
lion cub taken by Oakland Zoo under captivity
and treatment to cure the wildfire burns and
grow into a healthy, living animal. Captain Cal’s
mother was burned to death in the Zogg Fire.

What causes these threatening wildfires?

Over 4 million acres of land in California has been burned down into smithereens this year, breaking the record of 2 million acres burnt in 2018. The temperatures and the wind speed skyrocket, encouraging the wildfire to unleash its worst potential. That is only one of the reasons. Scientists say that California’s changing climate is the #1 reason why there are so many fires, unlike other states. According to Park Williams, a bio-climatologist, “As long the stuff is dry, and there is a spark, then that stuff will burn.”Secondly, people are another cause of wildfires. For instance, at a gender reveal party, a fire ignited by fireworks burned thousands of acres. Firefighters only contained 16% of the El Dorado (the fire’s name). Every fall, an air current called Santa Ana Winds brings dry air from the Great Basin in the Sierra Nevada to California. The air stretches across the mountains and gets pressurized and warm becoming less moist. The gust speed is about 40-60 miles per hour benefiting California wildfires. Overall, the wildfires are generated by many factors but there are some that we can prevent such as fireworks.

Wildfire impact on mountain lions

The mountain lions are already facing habitat destruction from builders cutting down trees to create stores. Because of this, cougars have less territory and may also inbreed. In other words, when mountain lions have habitat loss, their region shrinks, and the father may even mate with his
child. Since the fire had burned at least 26,000 acres of their habitat, their habitat shrunk even more. When wildfires come in the puma’s territory, they tend to move away from the fires and lurk somewhere else, such as farms with livestock to eat. After they move back into the area where
the fire was, the cougars would burn their paws and starve to death because they can’t hunt with their retractable claws. According to a study, wildfires can create deer grazing areas which can increase deer population, but it is a problem for cougars. The mountain lion’s main diet is hunting
deer although they like a dense forest to hunt in and their prey is not in plain sight. The increase in wildfires poses a threat to the mountain lion’s environment.

Importance of mountain lions

Mountain lions are known as an “umbrella species,” meaning that saving their habitat will save other organisms habitats as well. They stabilize the herbivore’s population such as deer. If there were no mountain lions, deers would over-graze and not let the plants grow back. The cougars play an indirect role in the California ecosystem showing what the cost would be if there were none. Mountain lions also compete with other carnivores such as coyotes and bears so they balance their preys population.

California Fires 2020

Mountain lion habitat range in California

The habitat for mountain lions range from the North of California to South California which is a dense forest and mountainous terrain. The cougar’s natural environment is the same as the wildfire’s causing the puma’s habitat to shrink. In the two maps above, there are four different wildfires in the circle of the cougar’s habitat. Most of the fire has been contained although the trees were burned.

Twin mountain lion cubs rescued from the Zogg fire; their mom died in the fire. The Oakland Zoo are planning to introduce them to Captain Cal.

Citations: Credit goes to Oakland Zoo for Captain Cal and the twins. Props to them!

Grizzly Hunt

Hello, today I am going to tell you about a special moment in my life.

In out of my 14 days of my road trip to Grand Teton National Park, this day stood out the most to me. My family and I took a road trip for 14 days to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Around 7 PM in a scenery location called Willow Flats in Grand Teton National Park,  we saw a herd of elk munching on some delicious willow. My parents and I decided to wait to see what happens because we had nothing else to do. I observed the behavior of the elk’s and I noticed one thing in particular. They ran away from certain bush spots which caught my eye. I’ve also noticed that the elk was being more playful in my opinion and didn’t watch out for predators. As the sun began to set and the moon became luminous, elk calves were screaming like toddlers and were running around like they were mad. Suddenly the screaming stopped and the eerie noise of the blood-sucking musquitos made my body feel numb. 

My parents whispered, “Let’s go back to our cabin and get some sleep.”

I replied, “Five more minutes.” I glance at my phone to see the time and it was 9:40 PM. We decided to wait for those five minutes and observed what was going to happen.  Exactly at 9:45 PM, a big male grizzly popped out of one of the bushes and charged at the elk herd. Elk’s were crying, crossing roads, and ran everywhere to get away from the bear. At one point the bear got confused because all the elk split up and he didn’t know what to do. Sadly, the hunting action was over and it was too dark to see the bear going back to its den. I still can’t get over the fact that we captured a National Geographic moment. Thank you for listening to my memoir.

Day 9 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

We left early to go to Jenny Lake, and we suddenly saw a bear in the meadow. It was a cinnamon black bear! We were the first to spot it, create a bear jam, and have the rangers come. The bear was taking a stroll in the meadows on a hot day. I saw the bear look for food and looked at us! I asked the ranger that came to control the traffic where can we find moose. He said to go to a place labeled, Moose Wilson. Moose Wilson was along the way to Jenny Lake, so we went there. Since Jenny Lake was too crowded, we just went to Moose Wilson, and we saw two female moose! We saw one in the water and one eating willow. We came to Willow Flats after the moose sighting and saw what the elk was doing. The elk was now cautious and very smart for what they planned. They went up the hill because they know the bear will lose energy as it goes up the higher elevation. We saw a glimpse of the bear, but it was too dark to see. The bear was very determined to get a baby elk. The last day of my trip can be one of the glorious moments to view wildlife in their natural habitats.

MOOSE

Day 8 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

It was a cloudy day, and we wanted to go canoeing. After it rained for some time, we rushed to the canoe rental shop and rented a canoe. They gave us a map, lifejackets, a boat, and three oars. When we went, the water was pretty calm, but when we came back, that’s a whole other story. There were a lot of bald eagles 🦅 around because there is a sanctuary there for bald eagles. It was full of suspense and scenery. When we wanted to come back ashore, there were swells and waves just coming and coming and never stopping. At one point, the canoe almost tipped over. Thankfully, we made it back to the dock safely. After that, we went to the Willow Flats Overlook to spot some bears. There was a herd of elk, and they were always running away from the bushes. Therefore, precisely 9:45 PM, the grizzly came out the bushes and ran to hunt the elk calves, but the grizzly didn’t catch one. My mom got so excited that she left her slippers there! I got too excited that I ditched my phone on the car’s sunroof. Thankfully, it didn’t fall off and I was able to retrieve it. I couldn’t stop dreaming about the adventures I had today.

No words to say…

Day 7 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today we departed from Yellowstone and went to Grand Teton National Park to stay in Colter Bay Village for a couple of days. We drove around to glimpse at some wildlife, but nothing was there. Since I couldn’t find any wildlife on this day, I felt bored throughout the day. On the other hand, there was beautiful scenery around Grand Teton.

Before Grand Teton NP

Day 6 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today my parents and I chose to go to Fairy Falls and also see the grand prismatic overlook. I saw the first elk calf ever with at least 20 elks near my old cabin. We got prepared to go hike, so we drove to Fairy Falls. Along the way, not far from the other elk herd, three bull elk were chilling together. Two of them had ten-point, and the other one had twelve-point. During the 6-mile hike round trip, we saw chipmunks and ground squirrels. And of course, the Grand Prismatic Spring. I became exhausted, and I was striving to walk. But the falls were worth it!

Fairy Falls

Day 5 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today we were going to do horseback riding around five o’clock. We woke up late and directly ate lunch at Canyon Village. When we arrived near the horseback riding place, a black bear was hiding in the grass and just settling down. During the horseback ride, there was a herd of elk and some bison. To me, it was kind of lame since I’ve been on a lot of horseback rides and this was probably the worst one. Because there was nothing to see, I was bored during the journey. After we finished the horseback trip, we observed a bluebird. It was a pleasant sensation to view. We also saw another black bear when we were returning to the cabin. We came through Hayden Valley to get to the cabin, and we saw two wolfs playing with each other. That was an extraordinary way to end my day.

Mountain Bluebird

Day 4 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today we went to the north and northwest side of Yellowstone to look at Mammoth Springs and Tower Falls. There were occasional surprises along the way. First, we went to Mammoth Springs and saw an intriguing texture on the eroding rocks. When we were going to the car, we saw four female elks nearby and posing for us. After we went to the car we were heading to Tower Falls (which was closed down due to a sinkhole that damaged the road), we saw two coyotes playing and then hunting. It was far away but close enough to see clearly in the binoculars. After we realized that Tower Falls was closed for two more years because of the sinkhole, we went to Lamar Valley to observe wolves and bears, but we didn’t find any. I was dejected and sad that we couldn’t grab a perspective of any. On the flip side, I saw thousands of bison running from something I did not view. We also saw a pronghorn that was about to cross the road. I would say yesterday was more satisfactory than today. Although, animals are a gift in life and I must perish them and keep them safe. After all, my name means Earth (born to protect animals of all kind).

The wonderful Coyotes

Day 3 of my adventure to Yellowstone NP and grand Teton NP

GO TO THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP! 👉Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 2020 👈

Today my parents and I planned to go to The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Before we left, we got breakfast and sat with the elks nearby. After we finished eating, we checked out from our cabin to a new one. Then we hit the road and we navigated our way to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Along the way, there was a mini-hike I wanted to do. It was a stinky sulfur hike. We went to the mud volcano area and saw the Dragon’s Mouth Spring, the Mud Caldron, Sour Lake, Sizzling Basin, Churning Caldron, and Black Dragon’s Caldron. After that we finished strolling around bubbly mud pits, we went to the Canyon area and saw the Lower Falls via Artist’s Point and the Upper Falls via an outlook. In the overlook of the Upper Falls, we saw two mule deer eating together. After that, we decided to head back to our cabin and sleep. Fortunately, two animals stopped us. A 12-point bull Elk and a Grizzly bear! They were just a fourth of a mile apart. They foraged near the road and ate an evening snack. The bear and the elk sighting were a breathtaking way to end my day!

Juvenile Grizzly Bear