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

Colorado Project

Mountain Lion Population Modeling

July 2011 - December 2014


Participating Agencies

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife

: In order to set harvest quotas, evaluate management practices and understand the dynamics of predator-prey systems, it is desirable to have reliable estimates of population size. Unfortunately, as with many predators, it can be very difficult and expensive to obtain these estimates. This is especially true with mountain lions because of their low densities, secretive nature, and unpredictable response to lures, baits and/or calls. Most reliable estimates of population size for mountain lions have come from intensive capture and monitoring studies, The ability to estimate population size or track population changes is critical to the management of a species, especially when harvest quotas are being set for that species. This study is designed to develop tools that can be implemented in areas where mountain lions are not actively being studied and marked that will allow biologists/managers to gain a better idea of population size and population response to management prescriptions. Such estimates, in conjunction with harvest data, will allow managers to better understand the mountain lion populations they manage, set appropriate harvest quotas and defend our management actions to the public.