We are conducting surveys, monitoring, and research on cougars (puma, mountain lion) on the Ladder Ranch in south-central New Mexico. Here, cougars are of particular interest given their effects on state-endangered desert bighorn sheep and other valuable big game. These projects are also resources for training and education, most notably through the Cougar Field Workshop.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cougar tracks were found in two locations yesterday. The first set, seen in the photo above the map, were found in the road near the northern tip of the Fra Cristobal range. Note the three lobes in the heel of the forepaw and the asymmetrical arrangement of the toes which distinguish cougar tracks from those of similarly sized canids (dogs and wolves). This cougar was headed north. As we received rain on Saturday and Sunday nights the damp soil provided an excellent substrate for some deep clear tracks. The second set of tracks, top photo, also indicated a cougar moving northward. In the top photo I have drawn arrows in the sand to indicate the location of the tracks.


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