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, January 03, 2010

LF1 Killed: On 27 December, 2009 LF1's collar sent its last coordinates. Yesterday, Dr. Kate Thibault and I went to search the area where the last coordinates were recorded. We detected a mortality signal from the collar approximately 3 miles SE of the last coordinates. Much to our disappointment, we eventually located LF1's bloody collar buried beneath the bank of an arroyo and covered with rocks. Evidently, the person who killed LF1 was afraid to report the killing and return the collar. As LF1 was not on ranch property, it is legal to hunt mountain lions with a permit in New Mexico, and the state offers no protection to our study animals, whoever killed LF1 did not break the law, however unethical and costly their act may have been. LF1 had three young cubs (See previous posts) which will likely starve over the next week to 10 days. LF1 had been collared continuously for 22 months and had produced two litters during that time. She was first collared with the help of Steve Dobrott and Orvel Fletcher in February of 2008 for the Cougar Field Workshop. This fall Furman's Wild Semester class recaptured her and replaced her collar. She was an invaluable study animal. Although recording sources of mortality for mountain lions in this area is a goal of our project, we are disheartened to lose a female with young cubs.


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