Genetic analysis of scats reveals minimum number and sex of recently documented mountain lions

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
By: , and 



Recent records of mountain lions Puma concolor and concurrent declines in desert bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis mexicana on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, United States, have prompted investigations to estimate the number of mountain lions occurring there. We performed noninvasive genetic analyses and identified species, individuals, and sex from scat samples collected from the Kofa and Castle Dome Mountains. From 105 scats collected, we identified a minimum of 11 individual mountain lions. These individuals consisted of six males, two females and three of unknown sex. Three of the 11 mountain lions were identified multiple times over the study period. These estimates supplement previously recorded information on mountain lions in an area where they were historically considered only transient. We demonstrate that noninvasive genetic techniques, especially when used in conjunction with camera-trap and radiocollaring methods, can provide additional and reliable information to wildlife managers, particularly on secretive species like the mountain lion.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Genetic analysis of scats reveals minimum number and sex of recently documented mountain lions
Series title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI 10.3996/042010-JFWM-008
Volume 2
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 6 p.
First page 106
Last page 111
Country United States
State Arizona
County La Paz County, Yuma County
Other Geospatial Castle Dome Mountain, Kofa Mountain, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
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