Genetic Analysis of Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) Feces from Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
Koprowski, John L.
Thompson, Ron W.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractInvestigations on recent records of mountain lions (Puma concolor) and concurrent declines in desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana) on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge have necessitated the determination of the number of mountain lions and their diet on the refuge. Using genetic analysis, we identified mountain lion feces/scats (n=53) from the Kofa and Castle Dome Mountains in southwestern Arizona. We identified 11 individual mountain lions that included at least 6 males and 2 females. We also identified prey species from bone and connective tissue remains inside the mountain lion scats. Our data suggest that a majority of mountain lion diet (62 %) on the refuge is mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus). These estimates greatly enhance our knowledge of mountain lions in an area where, historically, their presence was considered transient. Additionally, recognizing the need for reliable species identification and to improve species identification from non-invasive samples, we developed a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) primer set that would enable the amplification of the complete cytochrome b gene from a large number of mammalian species. DNA sequence information obtained from the use of this primer set can be used for the development of mammalian species’ databases and referencing. Overall, this project demonstrates the efficacy of genetic techniques and their potential to provide reliable and necessary information on elusive species to wildlife managers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
School of Natural Resources and the Environment