#SANTACRUZ >> Come Jan. 1, the #cannabisfarms peppering the #SantaCruzMountains will enter new legal territory, but #ecologists worry it may spell doom for the area's #mountainlions.
Mountain lions have called the Santa Cruz Mountains home for millennia. Their sensitivity to #humanimpacts makes them a useful indicator of how #cannabiscultivation among the #redwoods could impact all wildlife, said Chris Wilmers, ecologist at #UCSantaCruz and head of the #PumaProject. The project has been tracking and studying local mountain lions since 2008. Wilmers said he believes that cannabis cultivation may be the most imminent threat to mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
If the footprint of #cannabisgrowing increases in the mountains, Wilmers has two concerns. He said he worries that increased infrastructure and human presence will make mountain lions, who are famously averse to humans, abandon large swaths of habitat. He is also concerned that use of #anticoagulantrodenticides, which can hamper mountain lions' #immunesystems and are lethal in high doses, could increase along with cannabis cultivation.