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.

Friday, February 29, 2008

We have a very exciting recent development. For several months we have been trying to gather enough baseline data with cameras and collars to test the idea that the home ranges of wild cougar can be modified using artificial scent posts. On Friday of last week, graduate student Megan Pitman and TESF biologist Chris Jones placed tiger urine along a frequently used travel path of our collared male cougar. The large yellow dot indicates the location of the scent marker. This cougar was collared in April of 2007 (See April posts). Ten months of data collection has revealed that this cougar has a long narrow home range along the Rio Grande floodplain. Immediately following the application of tiger urine this cougar seems to have taken a long detour to the west. Note the four red dots marking the cougar's location after the application of scent. While we must be cautious of our interpretation at this stage, and while there is the nagging possibility that we are seeing another ill-timed satellite error, these are the most promising results we could have hoped for at this point.


Post a Comment

<< Home