Elk NetworkColorado Ramps Up Mountain Lion Research

General | April 17, 2019

Mountain lion management in Colorado gets more challenging as the state’s human population continues to grow, but ground-breaking studies by Colorado Parks and Wildlife researchers generated new science that may help balance that growth with wildlife habitat needs.

“The magnitude and scale of the research that we are conducting on mountain lions, and the data we have gathered from our efforts, has led to interesting results that enhance our understanding of mountain lion ecology to better inform management decisions,” said Chuck Anderson, CPW mammals research section leader. “That is especially true in our urban wildlife interfaces. The data being gathered will be critically important to us as we look to balance growing human populations with wildlife/habitat needs.”

The advancement in technology allowed a new insight on when and why mountain lions were coming into town. Researcher Mat Alldredge found that most of them were coming into town at night, and springtime was the peak season for lions to use urban areas. Also, the majority of these lions were either young sub-adults who briefly passed through or adult females, who used it consistently for food. Urban areas are great habitat for both deer and the smaller critters that a lion would eat like raccoons, in addition to pets and livestock. But by-and-large, Alldredge found they were primarily selecting deer and smaller prey items as their main food source.

This area was selected for the study because it had a high number of conflicts, but was also an area with one of the lowest hunter harvests because of inaccessible private lands.

Find more information about the studies here.

(Video source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)