Flora and Fauna

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There is a plethora of information about Orange County’s biotic community across the web. Below are a few links to get started researching this rich material. If you see something that should be added to this list, please email us at lagunagreenbeltmedia@gmail.com.

Bobcats, Coyotes, Cougars (Mountain Lions) and Other Mammals: 

UCI List of Mammals

Defenders of Wildlife

Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife

Urban Carnivores

Humane Society

OC Trackers

Urban Coyotes

Project Coyote

Coyotes Facts Video

Pacific Marine Mammal Center 

Other Animals of Orange County: 

OC Habitats Animals List 

Birds: Sea and Sage Audubon

OC Birds of Prey Center

UCI: Arthropods of Orange County 

UCI: Fish of Orange County 

Native Plants:

California Native Plant Society – Orange County Chapter 

CalFlora Database

OC Habitats Plant List

Orange County Outdoors

Wildlife Rescue:

Environmental Nature Center List of Rescue Contacts

Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center

Orange County Bird of Prey Center

Opossum Society of the United States 

Climate and Urbanization in Orange County, California: 

Orange County’s plants and animals are adapted to the unique conditions of California’s mediterranean climate, with its cool, wet winters (when water and food is most abundant), and dry, hot summers (when some resources are scarce). While the rest of the country’s plant life is largely dormant in winter due to cold temperatures and frozen water, OC residents can enjoy at least some native plants blooming. On the flip side, some animals and plants are dormant in August, while many other states are experiencing the peak of annual growth and rain. Similarly, animals must also adapt to these changing environmental conditions, in part by moving from place to place in search of food, mates, hunting grounds, and safe places to raise their babies. Historically, movement across the landscape and normal part of animal and plant life, and this is true of the flora and fauna in Orange County.

Ridgeparksjhtc copy 2People have converted many acres of land in Orange County from wild land to streets, homes, shopping centers, etc. As more and more wild land becomes developed, and obstacles begin to appear in places where animals previously roamed and foraged freely – this is known as habitat fragmentation.

Fragmentation is one of the major causes of problems for wildlife in urban areas around the world. Habitat fragmentation can keep animals from moving to new territories, eventually isolating them on a virtual ‘island’, and preventing them from finding mates that have the genetic diversity needed to keep the animal population healthy. For example, one very serious barrier to movement is the freeway system in southern California. It is very difficult and dangerous for animals to cross a freeway, and for many animals, crossing to the other side is simply not an option. However, some larger animals will attempt to cross a freeway and when they do, they are sometimes hit by vehicles. In southern California, mountain lions often make headlines when they cross highways, or die trying.

Across the United States and the world, some land has been preserved as wildlife corridors (sometimes called greenbelts). In Orange County, local residents, governments, developers, and nonprofit organizations have worked together for decades to preserve over 22,000 acres along the Laguna Coast and elsewhere, and invested millions of dollars in preserving these acres. In order to protect this huge investment, the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor is essential; It keeps wildlife populations healthy by connecting them to new territories to find suitable mates and other essential resources they need to thrive.

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