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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Megan and our recent undergraduate assistants, Michael Jiang and Eliza Stucker, were fortunate enough to set cameras on another of LF1's recent kills. This time they also placed the kill in a box trap, wired open to prevent it from actually catching a puma. The idea here is to condition these puma to take their kills from a box trap, in the hope that we have a quick and easy recapture and recollar in the fall. Ideally, we will also collar LF1's offspring as well.

In the overlay photographs below, we still seem to be seeing two uncollared puma at LF1's kills. In the first photograph we have an overlay of what is almost certainly the same puma. These photos were taken only one minute apart and show two images of a puma of the same size. This puma is about the same size as LF1.

In the overlay photograph below note that although the angle of the body is different, the forepaws are in essentially the same place. Now compare the shoulder height, the white mark on the back of the left ear, and the size of the forelimbs. It seems very likely that these are two different puma - consistent with the photos taken at the kill on the 20th. If these are two different puma, it would be very unlikely that they are independent adults sharing a second kill with LF1.


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