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, April 19, 2010

When following pumas around, it doesn't take long to realize that these critters can move. They cover an amazing amount of extremely rough terrain in no time. This graphs shows a frequency distribution of the number of nights a female (LF1) and a male (LM3) puma traveled certain distances: less than 100 meters, 100-500m, 500-1,000m, 1,000 - 5,000m, and so on, up to 20 km in one night. Both of these pumas traveled at least 5 km (3.1 mi) on most nights, and quite often exceeded 10 km - as the crow flies, and if you've ever spent time in New Mexico, you know there's a whole lot more ground to cover for us mammals than for the crows. LM3 liked to wander more than LF1, as we would expect for a lone male relative to a female that often has small kittens to tend.


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