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.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Above is a graph summarizing the prey selection data we have collected for 6 gps collared mountain lions over the previous 2 years. (This does not represent all the kills actually made by all 6 mountain lions over the 24 month period). There are some biases in these data. First, most of these six mountain lions were only collared for a few months of the year, which may introduce seasonal bias. Second, many smaller prey items, such as rabbits, rats, birds, and foxes are may be completely consumed, leaving little or nothing for us to find at the kill site. Despite these biases in the data, there is a clear pattern in our data which supports the findings of other studies; the primary prey of mountain lions is mule deer. What will be more interesting to discover, as we collect more data, is whether or not there are distinct differences in male and female mountain lion diets and whether there are seasonal flucutations in the diet.


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