The Bay Area Cougar Action Team (BACAT) is an alliance of like-minded organizations working together to ensure a safe future for Bay Area mountain lions (aka, cougars or pumas). Created in 2013, this partnership supports the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) with their progressive guidelines around mountain lion encounters. BACAT helped pass SB132, a measure that allows various non-profits and organizations to assist the CDFW in responding with non-lethal interventions to incidences of mountain lions in human-wildlife conflict situations. The vision is to create a model support system that can be duplicated throughout California and beyond.
Founding organizations include California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oakland Zoo/Conservation Society of California, the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Bay Area Puma Project. Other local organizations have since joined the force.
Mountain lion habitat has become increasingly fragmented due to development, which blocks movement corridors, and leads to more sightings and encounters. In order to find needed large territories, mountain lions are crossing busy roads and dying of car strikes. Pumas are also being killed by depredation permits that are issued when livestock or pets are attacked, often because they were not housed in proper pens. Illegal poaching of mountain lions is also a tragic issue. With the human population in the Bay Area continuing to grow, it is vital to address these conflicts and ensure both people and mountain lions are safe.
BACAT members are trained, equipped, and ready to join the CDFW in the field if there is a mountain lion in shared habitat that needs addressing. Acting as back up to the wardens, the response team provides the extra skilled darters, darting medicine, trucks and cages that might be needed during the incident. This response team helps ensure a positive and healthy outcome for both mountain lions and people.
BACAT members share a goal of creating an informed Bay Area public that knows how to live sustainably and safely in the habitat we share with mountain lions. BACAT members work together to offer messaging and outreach for the media and public through brochures, presentations, classes and other materials.
Mountain Lion Holding and Vet Care: Oakland Zoo offers our state of the art veterinary facility to care for and hold a wild lion that is need of temporary care until a decision is made of where the cat can be released.
Human-Wildlife Conflict Training: In 2012, Oakland Zoo hosted a five day intensive training with the Human Wildlife Conflict Collaboration. Many Bay Area mountain lion stakeholders took part in this ground-breaking work. Through the coming together of these various agencies, non-profits, local parks, the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and mountain lion researchers, BACAT was formed.