The Escondido Creek Conservancy has launched “The Missing Lynx” campaign to establish permanently protected wildlife corridors in North San Diego County. After successfully acquiring 975 acres as part of their “Save 1000 Acres” campaign, the Conservancy has shifted its focus to connecting the missing links, so wildlife can move freely between preserved areas, and protecting those linkages in perpetuity.
“Between climate change, pollution, and human expansion into wild areas, native plants, and wildlife around the world are struggling to survive,” says Executive Director, Ann Van Leer, “We want San Diego County to retain the natural beauty that has drawn humans here for centuries, but to do so, we must be dedicated to connecting the missing links between preserved lands.”
Connecting wildlands is crucial for wildlife, especially large mammals like mule deer (Odocoileus heminus) and mountain lions (Puma concolor), which typically have home ranges of more than 100 square miles. Successful wildlife corridors provide access to food and other resources, while also improving genetic variation. Connecting breeding populations of a species increases their ability to adapt to their changing environment, which is especially important as we begin to witness the effects of climate change.
“We manage preserves on either side of the I-15,” says Hannah Walchak, the Conservancy’s Land Conservation Manager, “It’s crazy to think that I can easily drive between these preserves, while the unique populations of mountain lions on each side are unlikely to meet because of a lack of connectivity.”
Since 1991, The Escondido Creek Conservancy has helped preserve over 7,000 acres in North San Diego County. Over the last three years, with the creation of the Mountain Meadow Preserve and the George Sardina, MD Preserve, the “Save 1000 Acres” campaign protected an additional 975 acres. While these are important cornerstone properties, “The Missing Lynx” campaign will prioritize land acquisitions in areas that are contiguous to other preserved lands in the Escondido Creek watershed.
The Escondido Creek Conservancy is seeking public support to protect and preserve these “missing lynx” to reduce conflicts with human activities, help North San Diego County retain its wild character, and give our native species a chance to live, and live wild. For more information about the campaign, see www.missinglynx.org.