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, January 31, 2008

Recently, we got quite jolt as it appeared that our collared cougar had moved 50 miles to the west in 24 hours (green locations at extreme left of the map). Within a few days, however, he reappeared back in the Rio Grande floodplain, just west of the sheep management area. We still don't know whether our cougar actually took a long-distance stroll or whether we experienced some collar or satellite malfunction. It is possible for a cougar to cover 10's of miles in a 24 hour period.

In November our cougar began visiting the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (light blue triangle), just north of the ranch. On the ground investitations by refuge biologists indicate that our collared cougar was eating geese and oryx. It's most likely that he was scavenging geese that had died during the night. The tight cluster of locations at the upper right of the map likely indicate a place where he fed.