Top Left: Whale, NPS photo
Top Right: Island Fox Pup, NPS photo
Bottom: Seals, NPS photo

Coastal Southern California national parks support a diverse population of terrestrial mammals, from rodents to ungulates and carnivores. The diversity in mammals groups within these parks gives scientists an opportunity to conduct research on mammal populations in the context of evolution, urbanization and fragmentation.

  • Though cut off to other natural land by the ocean and urban development, Cabrillo National Monument and the Point Loma Peninsula are still home to several species of mammals including coyotes, rabbits, bats, and rodents.
  • Being isolated from the mainland, Channel Islands National Park supports only four native mammals – the island fox, the island deer mouse, the harvest mouse and the spotted skunk. The fox and the deer mouse have evolved into separate sub-species on each island, resulting in eight unique mammal species found only on the Channel Islands.
  • Over 45 mammal species can be found in the Santa Monica Mountains including small mammals such as squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, mice, rats, voles, and rabbits, to carnivores such as coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions.

The National Park Service strives to maintain the ecological processes that sustain these species and their habitats. Seasonal or migratory movements take many species like mountain lions across park boundaries where they are subject to different management policies and land use practices. Effective wildlife management requires strong partnerships with other agencies and landowners.

The parks have primarily focused on the monitoring of several mammal species that represent keystone species within the ecosystem. Data gathered from these studies provide better information in the conservation and management of the ecosystem. See the links below to learn more about some of the projects that are occurring in Coastal Southern California national parks.