a bobcat walking along a trail

Wildlife Picture Index Research

A bobcat walking along a trail in a Midpen preserve.

In the fall of 2020 we began a wildlife picture index research project to learn more about mountain lions and other wildlife in Rancho San Antonio Preserve. 

Because Rancho San Antonio Preserve is adjacent to a densely populated urban area it is Midpen’s most-visited preserve. It also provides valuable habitat for many wildlife species, including mountain lions. Occasionally, visitors report sightings and encounters with mountain lions, including a non-fatal attack in February 2020.


Natural Resources Protection and Restoration
Natural Resources
illustration of a notebook with images of animals on cover

Project Objectives

The objectives of the Wildlife Picture Index research project are to learn the following about mountain lions and other wildlife in Rancho San Antonio Preserve:

  • Population: Diversity and abundance
  • Geography: Distribution across the landscape
  • Influences: Factors affecting wildlife behavior

The results this project, in conjunction with a separate mountain lion collaring study, will help guide Midpen’s science-based preserve management to best protect visitors and wildlife, and fulfill our balanced mission of preserving and restoring the natural environment and providing for ecologically sensitive public enjoyment.

Watch and Learn with Us

We’ll be sharing wildlife images, insights and findings throughout the study. View some of the most recent wildlife photos in the gallery below.

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Science-based Method

The Wildlife Picture Index method was collaboratively created by wildlife camera experts in a process facilitated by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London.  It is an internationally recognized way to collect statistically viable wildlife data over a large geographic area. Motion-activated still cameras are placed in a non-biased grid system and are solely for wildlife research. Cameras are installed using a protocol that focuses on capturing wildlife, not people.

This method is being used by other park and open space agencies in our region, allowing our collective data to provide a big-picture view of wildlife in regional open space, and inform our land management allowing people and wildlife to coexist in the Bay Area.