Use of intraperitoneal radiotransmitters to study mountain lion (Puma concolor) Kittens

Authors

  • Joanne Gale Moriarty,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 401 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA
    • National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 401 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA.
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  • Lynn Whited,

    1. California Wildlife Center, 26026 Piuma Road, Calabasas, CA 91302, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. East Valley Animal Care Center, 14409 Vanowen Street, Van Nuys, CA 91405, USA.
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  • Jeff A. Sikich,

    1. National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 401 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA
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  • Seth P. D. Riley

    1. National Park Service, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 401 W Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Garshelis

Abstract

Implantation of radiotransmitters in juvenile carnivores allows researchers to study little-known life stages. In the field, we successfully implanted 7 mountain lion (Puma concolor) kittens from 2 litters in the Santa Monica Mountains (Los Angeles and Ventura Co., CA), 1 in 2004 and 1 in 2010, with intraperitoneal very high frequency radiotransmitters. We used Global Positioning System location data downloaded from their mothers' collars to locate the dens in their absence, and we hand-captured the kittens at 3–4 weeks of age. The implant surgery proceeded without complication and the mothers returned promptly afterward. The transmitters allowed us to track these young mountain lions for 13–17 months, from neonates to subadults. Upon necropsy of 3 of the individuals as subadults, the implants appeared to have had no negative impacts on the animals. Implantable radiotransmitters provided a safe and effective method for following young mountain lions. © 2012 The Wildlife Society.

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