Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arizona
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arizona Project

Assessment of Abundance and Diet of Felids at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

January 2008 - December 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Arizona Game & Fish Dept.

Goal: The present abundance and distribution of pumas is unknown on Kofa NWR. Through examination of photographs and tracks, the refuge has determined that at least 5 individual pumas were present on the Kofa in 2006 (a female with 2 kittens and 2 males), but the population size and its impacts on desert bighorn sheep and mule deer is unknown. A population estimate is the first required piece of information for any future management decisions regarding pumas. Puma predation has been documented as limiting some small, isolated bighorn populations; this is a concern especially on Kofa NWR for bighorn sheep management. Bobcats have also been captured on remote cameras on the refuge; their abundance and prey selection is also unknown. Bobcats are capable of predating bighorn lambs and this is another concern for bighorn sheep management. DNA analysis of scat can potentially provide a way to identify individual pumas and bobcats and generate a reliable population estimate, and DNA from bone fragments found inside in scat can provide information on puma and bobcat prey selection.