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Thesis - University Access Only
Master of Science (MS)
Natural Resource Management
Jonathan A. Jenks
Mountain lions (Puma concolor) have recently recolonized the North Dakota Badlands nearly a century after their extirpation; due to the relatively recent reappearance of mountain lions in the region, most population metrics are unknown. From 2011‒2013, we fitted 14 mountain lions with GPS collars and ear-tagged an additional 8 to study the characteristics of this mountain lion population and the potential impacts of mountain lion predation on prey populations in the region. Annual adult home ranges averaged 231.1 km2 ± 21.8 [SE] for males and 109.8 km2 ± 20.2 for females; we did not see seasonal shifts in home range size or distribution for either sex. Home range overlap between adult males averaged 13.7% ± 2.4 [SE]. Average male dispersal within the region was 45.13 km ± 11.7 [SE]; however, we also documented 2 long-range dispersers (375.87 km and 378.20 km) immigrating into North Dakota from Montana. Estimated annual survival was 42.1% ± 13.5 [SE]. All documented mortalities (n = 12) of marked mountain lions were human-caused; hunter harvest (n = 7) was the highest cause of mortality. Deer (Odocoilieus spp.) were the most prevalent item (76.9%) in mountain lion diets. Ungulate kill rates were 1.09 ungulates/week ± 0.13 [SE] in summer and 0.90 ungulates/week ± 0.11 in winter. Estimates of total biomass consumed were 5.8 kg/day ± 0.56 [SE] in summer and 7.2 kg/day ± 1.01 in winter. Scavenge rates were 3.7% in summer and 11.9% in winter. Prey composition included higher proportions of nonungulates in summer (female = 21.54%; male = 24.80%) than in winter (female = 4.76%; male = 7.46%). Proportion of juvenile ungulates in mountain lion diets increased following the ungulate birth pulse in June (June–August = 60.67% ± 0.09 [SE]; September–May = 37.21% ± 0.03), resulting in an ungulate kill rate 1.61 times higher during the fawning season (1.41 ungulates/week ± 0.15) than during the remainder of the year (0.88 ungulates/week ± 0.13). Our study provides region-specific population characteristics of a newly recolonized and previously unstudied mountain lion population within the Little Missouri Badlands of North Dakota.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Puma -- Ecology -- North Dakota -- Badlands
Includes bibliographical references
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Copyright © 2014 David Wilckens. All rights reserved.
Wilckens, David, "Ecology of Mountain Lions (Puma concolor) in the North Dakota Badlands: Population Dynamics and Prey Use" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 603.