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Cougar Pictorial
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Hollywood Cougar (P22)

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A hidden camera records Hollywood's most reclusive star-this male cougar first seen in Griffith Park in Los Angeles almost two years ago. A radio collar tracks his moves, but residents see scant sign of him. (Photo Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic)

(shame about that collar)

Full size image :
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Mountain Lion Family Feast Caught on Camera

By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer | February 28, 2014 04:04pm ET

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The male kitten, dubbed P-30, checks out the camera.

With an adorably wrinkled nose, a mountain lion cub honed her hunting skills earlier this month on a dead mule deer caught by mom in California's Malibu Creek State Park.

The female mountain lion cub, called P-28 by wildlife biologists, tested her "kill bite" on the deer's neck, while her brother, dubbed P-30, attacked the rest of the carcass. A remotely activated camera captured the nighttime feast for researchers who are tracking the cougar family at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. (Mountain lion and cougar are two names for the same animal.)

Biologists set up the DSLR camera at the deer kill site during the day, then recovered more than 350 images after the family finished feeding on the carcass, which took two days. 

The kittens seen in the pictures are about 10 months old and were tagged with trackers when they were three weeks old. Their mother, P-13, is wearing a GPS collar.

Mule deer are a popular menu item for Santa Monica mountain lions. The National Park Service has tracked more than 30 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2002, part of a long-term study monitoring the health of the cougar population here. Of the 400 kills discovered during the study, more than 95 percent have been mule deer, said park spokeswoman Kate Kuykendall.

Mountain lions are not an endangered species in California, and the Santa Monica park offers good habitat for the charismatic cats. The park's adult mountain lion population is currently estimated at 15 adults.

But the mountain lion group faces several long-term challenges to its survival, the ongoing study shows.

The small population means there are too few adults for long-term genetic diversity, leading to in-breeding. Freeways, the ocean and agricultural development trap the cats in an island of habitat. Many cats lose their lives trying to cross local roads. Three local mountain lion kittens have been killed by vehicles in 2014.

"In the 12 years we've been studying these animals we've only had one successfully cross from the north to the south, bringing new genetic material," Kuykendall said.

The barriers to movement also mean young males can't strike out for new territory. The leading cause of death in the population is inter-species fighting, or lion-on-lion conflicts, Kuykendall said. "They are solitary and territorial animals," she said.

To increase genetic diversity and reduce deaths, the Park Service supports building a wildlife crossing near the Liberty Canyon exit along the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, Kuykendall said.

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These amazing images of a mountain lion family feasting on a mule deer carcass were captured with a remotely-activated camera in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The adorable cubs, one female, one male, practiced their hunting skills on the dead deer while their mother kept a protective watch. While rare in Southern California, the charismatic cats are not considered an endangered species. The cubs are about 10 months old.

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The female cub, called P-28 by wildlife biologists, tested her "kill bite" on the deer's neck.

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Mother mountain lion P-13, who brought down the deer.

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The male kitten, dubbed P-30, checks out the camera. Mom is in the background, wearing a GPS collar.

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The girl cub, P-28, seems curious about the commotion. 
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Notoriously elusive, cougars vary their range in response to their prey, mostly elk and deer. In winter they favor the shallow snow in the northern reaches of Yellowstone. This cougar was caught on the prowl by a camera trap set behind an elk rack on a cliff. 
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Camera Trap : Female & Cub Wyoming's Gros Ventre mountains
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Here M29 (on left) visits one of his families...M80 when just 3 months old playing on his back in the middle, and F61, mother, on the right, clearly comfortable with their father visiting her kittens. F96 (frostbite), M80's sister, was off camera at the time.

Grand Teton Cougar Project 
Video of the above photo: M80 eventually accepts 'Dad's Visit:


Rest of article:

Solitary Is Not Asocial: Social Interactions Among Mountain Lions

Posted by Mark Elbroch of Panthera in Cat Watch on August 1, 2016

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F61 and F96, familial mountain lions followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, engage in play. Photograph by Jeff Hogan.

On May 5, 2012, the way I—and many other scientists—understood mountain lions changed forever. A few days earlier, data collected from F57, an adult female mountain lion we’d captured as part of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project just the month before, revealed that she’d been in the same place for two full days, behavior typically indicative of having made a kill. When new data conveyed that another adult female mountain lion, F109, had closed to within 500 meters of F57’s position, I rushed out with Jake Kay, a project intern at the time, to set motion-triggered cameras over the massive elk carcass we discovered on location.

Some days later, I retrieved the cameras and reviewed the video footage in our office with anticipation—F109’s data indicated that she’d visited the kill and in fact spent some time there. Slowly I clicked on each video in succession, hopeful but aware that capturing an interaction between mountain lions on film would be like catching smoke in my bare hands. But at precisely 11:35 pm on May 5th (the day I set the camera), F57 trotted into frame under cover of darkness. She quickly backtracked and hissed loudly in the direction from which she’d come. F109 emerged on screen, walking stiff-legged and tall; F57 snarled and retreated to the left side of the carcass. F109 followed, closing the distance between them from ten yards to two. F57 instantly rolled onto her back; her four clawed feet aimed at the interloper. F109 hissed quietly, and then turned her head to the side, communicating mild submission. Then the video ended. I sat alone in the quiet that followed, hand still on the mouse, stunned by what I’d just seen. And then I shot my arms above my head, and yelled “YES” at the ceiling, as thrilled and surprised as if I’d just won the World Cup. Because in mountain lion biology, I just had.

Mountain lions are solitary carnivores, and in fact every wild cat, big or small, is considered solitary, except two: the African lion that forms great family prides most people are very familiar with, and cheetahs, which sometimes form male coalitions that hunt and work together to court females and defend territory. Ecology has a particular definition for “solitary,” when referring to wildlife; Solitary species do not cooperatively raise young, forage, mates, or defend resources from competitors or predators. Solitary carnivores are expected to interact infrequently, and these rare interactions to be about courtship or territorial disputes. Everything you ever read about mountain lions would suggest that F57 and F109 should have avoided each other. But they didn’t. So perhaps I’d caught something odd, something out of place in mountain lion society?

Not the case, as you can read in a new article just published in Current Zoology. Between May 2012 and March 2015, we documented 65 Male-Female, 48 Female-Female, and 5 Male-Male interactions among 12 overlapping mountain lions. We captured an amazing 59 of these interactions on film, 11 (17%) of which included courtship behaviors (see Rare Video Footage Shows the Dynamics of Cougar Courtship). We found that mountain lions interacted 5.5 times as often between December 1st and May 31stas they did between June 1st and November 30th each year, which makes sense, since elk form massive winter herds on feed grounds from December-May and mountain lions court each other during breeding between February and May (see A Fortress For Cougar Kittens).

Sixty percent of the mountain lion interactions we documented occurred over food—a kill made by one of the mountain lions. And contrary to everything we read about mountain lions, kittens were present at 60% of Female-Female and Male-Female interactions at kill sites. Courtship interactions were less common. We even documented three adult pumas feeding together on 5 occasions, and as many as 9 pumas at a kill, including youngsters.

In 1989, Sandell emphasized that solitary is not the same as non-social, and that all solitary wild cats are social to some degree. Researchers studying primates also offer useful insights applicable to solitary wild cats. They define solitary primates as those that look for food alone, but still maintain social relationships. So while the frequency with which we documented mountain lions interacting with each other is unprecedented and sheds new light on the social behavior of mountain lions, it is not enough to challenge their status as a solitary species; all evidence so far indicates that mountain lions (and most wild cat species) hunt alone.

Stay tuned for more on the social behaviors of mountain lions from Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project. This research is the first in a series of papers we are publishing on the subject—the next explores patterns of social interactions and attempts to explain why mountain lions interact with some frequency. For updates, photos, and videos of all the mountain lions followed as part of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, join us on Facebook.
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Close up!

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"This was sent to us and we were given permission to share. A truly stunning photo caught on a motion-triggered camera in Idaho. Is this a pride of mountain lions? Is this evidence of socialization among mountain lions?

No and no, at least not socialization among adult mountain lions. This is instead evidence of an amazing mother than has raised 4 kittens to such an age. Truly amazing. Can you spot her? She's the one drinking from the pool."
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I like how you can post Facebook videos on this Forum! Enjoy:

A direct link to our newest research:…

This is footage compliments of local hero and filmmaker Jeff Hogan/Hogan Films of a wild mountain lion returning to her den with tiny kittens. He shared it to inspire you to appreciate mountain lions more.
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Trail cam footage of an impressive male Cougar:

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