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

Our recent photos of multiple puma at the same kill site has generated some speculation as to the identity of these individuals. As LF1 is the only marked puma, her identity is the only one that is certain. I have created some transparent photo-overlays to help us determine how many puma there are at the kills, and their likely identity. Below is an overlay of what may be two different puma at the kill on 20 June, 2009. We first interpreted these two photos as representing two different animals, one slightly larger than the other (see photos from previous post). This overlay seems to confirm that original hypothesis. Note that the right forefoot of both cats is in the same location. Now compare the height of the back, the shoulder, and the head size. This overlay strongly suggests that there are two cats of different size; obviously, neither is LF1. From what we currently know about adult puma social interaction, the sharing of kills seems to be relatively rare.


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