Mountain Lion Kittens Tagged
An Integral Part of Research at Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
An attempt will be made in a year to recapture these kittens after they have grown large enough to wear a radio collar. These kittens will provide important information on dispersal and movements of mountain lions with origins inside of the park. Download this photo (1.04 MB)
Since November of 2003, 16 adult mountain lions have been captured and radio tagged inside of Grand Canyon National Park. Nine of these lions (six males and three females) are still collared and being monitored by park staff. The purpose of this research is to monitor how lions use the park and surrounding lands, including the Kaibab National Forest. The research will also provide information on how mountain lions interact (or most often choose not to interact) with humans and how human infrastructure affects them.
“Grand Canyon National Park provides important habitat and prey for mountain lions in all areas of the park including sites frequented by people,” said Grand Canyon National Park wildlife biologist Eric York. “By understanding mountain lion movements, population dynamics and habits, biologists can make efforts to limit the potential negative interactions between lions and humans. This data will be utilized to inform and educate visitors on how to safely share the Grand Canyon with mountain lions.”
To date there have been no threatening encounters by lions in the study. However, humans have been responsible for four mountain lion deaths within the past two years - two from vehicle collisions inside the park and two that were legally hunted outside of the park boundary. Another collared mountain lion died due to natural causes. Park biologists have also lost touch with two previously collared lions. It is believed that one collar fell off and the other collar failed. The fate of these two lions is unknown.
Although there has never been a mountain lion attack at the Grand Canyon, there have been lion sightings.
“The number of lions and the increasing number of people utilizing the same areas of the park make an encounter a possibility at any time,” said York.
The following suggestions may help reduce your chances of having a mountain lion encounter:
· Hike in a group and make noise.
If you encounter a mountain lion that does not immediately retreat, follow the steps below:
· If you have small children, pick them up.
Celebrate Wildlife Day at Grand Canyon National Park, November 1, 2008.
Did You Know?
From Yavapai Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the drop to the Colorado River below is 4,600 feet (1,400 m). The elevation at river level is 2,450 feet (750 m) above sea level. Without the Colorado River, a perennial river in a desert environment, the Grand Canyon would not exist.