Carmel Valley is home to one of the West’s most beautiful and iconic predators, the mountain lion.  Thanks largely to concentrated habitat conservation effort, The Preserve supports a healthy mountain lion population.  Top keystone predators like mountain lions play a vital role in the ecosystem.  Without predators, food webs within a system can collapse.

Mountain lions and other large predators require large areas to hunt and lead healthy lives.  Where their habitat meets poorly planned urban development, humans and predators meet in ways that are almost invariably worse for the animal than the human. Healthy mountain lions have no dietary interest in humans, but can be frightened away from urban areas.  Mountain lions have disappeared throughout California in places where urban development did not allow for green corridors, such as in San Joaquin Hills.

Additionally, habitat connectivity preserves predator-prey relationships, or the intricate balance between species within the food web.  Losing large predators from an isolated habitat changes the populations of the animals they hunt, called prey species.  In turn unchecked prey species change populations of the plants they eat, ultimately changing the entire ratio and structure of plants and animals within the area.  Mountain lions and other predators are vital to The Preserve’s natural communities.

Photo: Bancroft


Bobcats are medium-sized cats with a coat of fur that can vary in shade from beige to grey with markings that could be lines or spots in darker shades of brown to black. Bobcats are stealth hunters, preying primarily on small mammals like rabbits and rodents but also may prey on birds and reptiles.

These solitary and territorial felines do not pose a danger to humans or pets.

Photo: Christy Wyckoff

Birds of Prey

Raptors are keen hunters with specialized features that distinguish them from other birds. Eagles, hawks, harriers, kites, and owls are all considered raptors and are notable for their curved beaks, sharp talons, and superb eyesight. These hunters have accurate depth perception allowing them to focus on quick moving prey.  Raptors hunt mammals, reptiles, fish, other birds. These species help maintain rodent populations on the Preserve; it is important for the health of our food chains to use rodenticide free pest management practices. Instead of rodenticide application, attract raptors to your land using a nest box for a natural pest management solution.

Photo: de Latour
Photo: de Latour


Coyotes are adaptable animals found across North America in rural and urban landscapes. Their scientific name, Canis latrans, means barking dog. These vocal animals communicate with their pack using many different sounds including yips, howls, and barks. Coyotes have a diverse diet including snakes, rodents, insects, grass and fruit.

Coyotes are revered by many native populations and are featured mythological character among indigenous cultures of North America, including Ohlone creation mythology.