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6/26/2013 6:00:00 AM
Mountain lions focus of next seminar
Stealthy mountain lions keep their distance from humans, making them difficult to study.Courtesy
Stealthy mountain lions keep their distance from humans, making them difficult to study.
Courtesy

KINGMAN - Mountain lions are stealthy, mysterious, rarely seen and therefore extremely difficult to survey.

They also like to kill bighorn sheep, and researcher Heather Heimann will delve into the relationship between lions and sheep when the next installment of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Summer Wildlife Series gets under way at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Kingman Mohave County Library, 3269 N. Burbank Street.

"What Heather is doing will provide information for the department that has been elusive," said Zen Mocarski, public information officer for Game and Fish in Kingman.

"Mountain lions aren't often seen because they tend to avoid human contact and blend in well to their surroundings. This means little is known about the potential long-term impacts lions have on bighorn sheep."

The presentation will last 45 minutes, leaving about 15 minutes for a question and answer period, said Mocarski. Admission is free but seating is limited to the first 51 people, so Mocarski encouraged attendees to arrive early.

There are three more presentations: Wildlife Waters, July 12; Fishing Arizona - Crayfish, July 26; and the History of Archery, Aug. 9.

If you can't make it or get there too late to find a seat, the presentations are posted each week on the Region 3 Facebook site, which can be found on the Arizona Game and Fish website.

For more information, contact Mocarski at (928) 692-7700, ext. 2301 or by email at zmocarski@azgfd.gov.



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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013
Article comment by: Wiley coyote

Thanks Zen and V Stokes for the reply. I agree that it isn't so much a long term study of cats and bighorns that is needed, but a "big picture" study to better understand how increasing human population growth and your livestock can work in the desert in the long haul. Big Beef, Big Real Estate, Big Game Hunts and Big Government are all relatively new megafauna in the ecosystem and I'm not sure there is time left for a long term study.

No offense intended, but some may even question the scientific objectivity, considering the appearance of conflict of interest from an agency funded by the sport of killing the wildlife being managed. This could be seen to have some influence on the science which may continue to pressure trophy hunting as something good for business. Killing off the prize males may not really be best thing for the strength of their gene pool, which also insures us natural predators a healthier and challenging herd to thin out in the future.

Also, one other thing. From what I see, killing off us top predators with your contests doesn't seem to be supported by science to accomplish anything beneficial either, since many times more of us die as road kill or natural causes anyway. It really only glorifies senseless killing with bad science, while disrupting a highly evolved social order and causing great pain and sorrow to a fellow intelligent species.

Please let me know if I'm just guessing or being emotional.


Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Article comment by: N A

What would we do without big government (Masters)

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ Zen Mocarski

Thank you for a clear and concise summary.

I'm sure Wiley was sincere...but just didn't have a "larger picture" perspective.


Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Zen Mocarski

Wiley - Any animals that have lived together for thousands of years face much different challenges today than they once did, such as loss of habitat and fragmentation by roadways and communities. Also, one of the biggest impacts to bighorn sheep is disease which was introduced into native populations by domestic livestock. Unlike domestic livestock, which evolved with these diseases, the native bighorns have no natural immunity. It is also suspected that mountain lions now exist at higher densities in these desert areas than historically because of introduced alternative prey sources (cattle, burros, stray pets, etc.). When combined, these factors are often enough to put bighorn populations over the edge in terms of viability. What you write is based on an assumption that humans have not already impacted wildlife, which is clearly untrue. When drought and disease led to a massive die-off in the Black Mountains, management became critical. Few bighorn sheep are hunted, and only the males are taken, meaning there is virtually no impact to the overall population since rams mate with many females. Lions, however, are indiscriminate killers, taking lambs, ewes, and rams. Depending on the number of lions in a particular area, there may be serious adverse impacts by just a few lions in regards to recovery. In other words, lions, over the course of a year, may be killing more sheep than are being introduced into a population. This is why research is so important, so decisions can be based in science and not on emotion or guess work.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Wiley Coyote

"This means little is known about the potential long-term impacts lions have on bighorn sheep."

The fact that they have lived together for millions of years, without Game and Fish management, is a pretty convincing long term study. Mountain lions have huge self regulated territories. They kill each other off and manage their own populations. Bighorns and big cats would continue to get along fine and keep each others' species strongest without people shooting them.




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