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.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Above, LF3 is waking up from the immobilization.

On the morning of 24 October, 2009 we captured and collared our third female of the study. Orvel Fletcher's hounds had apparently bayed one or more puma in the inaccessible bluffs of this canyon on the 23d. LF3 is approximately 2 years old, weighs 32 Kg (70lb) female, has a total length of 186 cm (73in), tail length of 73 cm (29in). Her right front paw heel pad measures 48 mm (1.9in) long and 54 mm (2.0in) wide. She was anesthetized with Ketamed reversed with Atipamezole. Furman's Wild Semester class had a second opportunity to participate in collaring and data collection. As of 7:20am on the 25th LF3 appears to be in good health.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On 14 October, 2009 Matthew McCollister captured and collared the second mature male for our study. The puma was in excellent health and the capture went smoothly with no complications. This large male weighed 120 lbs (55kg) and measured 80 inches (204cm) in total length.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On October 12, 2009 Matthew McCollister relocated LF1's den site to verify that her cubs were still in good condition following our collaring of LF1 on the 1st of October. Matthew found three cubs healthy, mobile, and with a little bit of attitude.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

On October first, the first day of lion trapping, we were pleased to find that LF1 had made a fresh Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) kill the night before. The Furman Wild Semester 2009 class helped carry a cage trap up to the kill and set up what was to be a VERY successful lion trap! Below are photos of the trap set-up and the night of the lion capture.

We used the large box cage trap for this capture because we had acclimated LF1 to its use over the summer by setting it up in the same way. By knowing her GPS locations we were able to find the kill and put it in the trap, making the chance of her returning and successfully being captured very high.

LF1 returned to the kill and approached the trap late in the evening, at 9:58 PM.

By 9:59PM she had entered and triggered the trap. There were many photos of her in the trap, but this one of her eating the kill while in the trap shows that she was at least calm enough to think about a snack.

By 12:05AM LF1 had been processed, re-collared, was waking up from the tranquilization, and about to be on her way.