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SURVIVAL AND MORTALITY OF COUGARS IN THE TRANS-PECOS REGION

John H. Young, Michael E. Tewes, Aaron M. Haines, Gilbert Guzman and Stephen J. DeMaso
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 55, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 2010), pp. 411-418
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40801040
Page Count: 8
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SURVIVAL AND MORTALITY OF COUGARS IN THE TRANS-PECOS REGION
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Abstract

We analyzed data from studies of cougars (Puma concolor) completed during 1982-1997 in Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains national parks, and Big Bend Ranch State Park. We estimated annual and seasonal (hunting and non-hunting periods) rates of survival and rates of cause-specific mortality for 31 males and 29 females. In the three studies, annual rates of survival for females were higher than those for males. Seasonal rates of survival were variable between sexes and among studies; however, pooling males and females revealed that rates of survival at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains national parks and Big Bend Ranch State Park were lower during hunting periods (1 September-31 March) compared to non-hunting periods (1 April-31 August). However, pooled rates of survival for males and females at Big Bend National Park were equal during hunting and non-hunting periods. Trapping was the greatest annual source of cause-specific mortality in all study areas. Shooting and unknown sources were the next greatest sources of mortality. Mortalities from intraspecific strife and natural causes were documented only in Big Bend National Park. Rates of survival for cougars in Texas and the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico are among the lowest in the United States. Low rate of survival should be considered when developing management plans; however, we caution against extrapolating results from limited study areas to the entire region. Usamos datos de estudios del puma (Puma concolor) realizados en los parques nacionales Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns y Guadalupe Mountains, y en el parque estatal Big Bend Ranch entre 1982-1997. Calculamos tasas de supervivencia anuales y temporales (las temporadas de casar y no casar) y tasas de mortandad por causas específicas para 31 machos y 29 hembras. En los tres estudios, las tasas anuales de supervivencia de las hembras fueron más altas que las de los machos. Las tasas de supervivencia temporales fueron variables entre los sexos y los estudios, aunque al agregar machos y hembras las tasas de supervivencia en los parques nacionales de Carlsbad Caverns y Guadalupe Mountains y en el parque estatal Big Bend Ranch fueron más bajas durante la temporada cinegética (1 septiembre-31 marzo) que en la temporada de veda (1 abril-31 agosto). Sin embargo, tasas de supervivencia de los machos y hembras agregados en el Parque Nacional Big Bend fueron iguales durante la temporada cinegética y la temporada de veda. El trampeo generó el mayor número en muertes por causas específicas en todas las áreas. La mortandad por armas y causas desconocidas quedaron en segundo término. La mortandad por peleas interespecíficas y causas naturales se documentaron únicamente en el Parque Nacional Big Bend. Las tasas de supervivencia del puma en Texas y en las montañas Guadalupe de Nuevo México son de las más bajas en los Estados Unidos. Tasas bajas de supervivencia se deben tomar en cuenta en el desarrollo de acciones de manejo, sin embargo recomendamos cautela en la extrapolación de resultados de áreas limitadas de estudio a toda la región.

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