Mountain Lions

Neil Wight

A new study of mountain lions shows they’re much more social than previously thought, with networks of felines sharing resources in territories overseen by a dominant male.

Panthera’s Puma Project biologist Mark Elbroch is a lead author of the article, published last week in the journal Science Advances. The study uses GPS technology and motion-sensor cameras to look at cougars in western Wyoming. 

Melodie Edwards

We trek through knee-deep snow along the banks of the Gros Ventre River near Jackson until we come to a heap of bones and grass. It's what remains of an elk calf.

“Here you go,” he says. “This is what it looks like. And I can tell you on Friday, we were standing in a foot of snow. I tracked the whole attack.”

Mark Elbroch is a Wildlife Researcher with Panthera's Puma Project. He tells the story with pride. He’s known this mountain lion, F61, since she was a kitten.

raskin227-flickr

Next week, legislators will debate whether or not to add mountain lions to the list of animals that can be legally trapped in the state. Newcastle Representative Hans Hunt is one of the bill’s sponsors. He says sportsmen and ranchers complain that mountain lions are hurting mule deer populations.

“The incidence of predator kills on deer populations in certain parts of the state has to be evidence enough that their population is certainly increasing and at a rate that’s cause for concern,” Hunt says.

Mark Elbroch

A researcher studying the social behaviors of mountain lions will present his findings on Thursday, June 18, in the first of a series of summer talks co-sponsored by the University of Wyoming and the National Parks.

Mark Elbroch is a wildlife biologist with Panthera, a conservation group studying big cats and their habitats. He says new technology like GPS collars and remote video cameras have given him unprecedented access to the lives of mountain lions.