The geographic distribution of sightings and sign of mountain lions (Puma concolor) in Oklahoma was investigated. Mail survey questionnaires were sent to natural resource professionals throughout Oklahoma to gather temporal and spatial information on sightings of mountain lions from 1985 to 1995. We used a geographic information system (GIS) to compare locations of sightings and sign in the state with ecoregions, deer harvest, human population densities, locations of licensed owners and breeders of mountain lions, and generalized topography. Sightings and sign of mountain lions occurred significantly more often in the Central Rolling Red Plains than elsewhere in the state. Sightings of mountain lions increased with total deer harvest statewide (R2=0.828, P<0.001). Numbers of sightings of mountain lions were correlated negatively with density of the human population (R2=0.885, P=0.017). Surveys are a valuable method to assess the status of rare wildlife species when other methods are not available and when those receiving the survey are qualified.
Additional publication details
A geographic analysis of the status of mountain lions in Oklahoma