The last time a Bay Area big cat popped up on camera, it was snacking on a deer. This lone ranger, on the other hand, doesn't seem too interested in dinner ...  


 

Ecologists in San Francisco managed to capture this hilarious critter encounter during a recent camera-trap survey. In the hopes of learning more about local wildlife, the team at East Bay Parks District set up their kit near Caldecott Tunnel (a busy tunnel on the east-west highway that cuts through the Berkeley Hills between Oakland and Orinda).

Every day, about 160,000 cars cruise through the tunnel, which is built under a 300-acre swathe of preserved forest. The research team suspected that while motorists made use of the underpass, the local wildlife were making their own commute on the forest corridor above. This footage certainly backs up that hunch. 

"Right up until several months ago, it wasn’t 100 percent clear whether it was or not an important corridor,” ecologist Steve Bobzien told NBC Bay Area News. "The first images we saw — we had coyotes and bobcats. The very first check we had a mountain lion."

"It’s really pretty clear that they’re doing an amazing job of avoiding people," adds Bobzien. "It’s like opening a Christmas gift every time we come and check the images. No matter how often you do it, it’s really exciting.”

Header image: Brent M