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Keywords:

  • cougar;
  • mortality;
  • mountain lion;
  • Puma concolor;
  • range expansion

ABSTRACT

In Alberta, Canada, number of cougar (Puma concolor) mortalities caused by humans has increased rapidly over the past 2 decades. Management agencies sometimes use human-caused mortalities as an index of cougar population trend, which would indicate an increasing cougar population in Alberta, but mortalities may be decoupled from cougar numbers. Some authors suggest that higher human-caused cougar mortalities (primarily due to sport hunting) are causing cougar populations in North America to decline. We used the distribution of human-caused cougar mortalities in Alberta to evaluate change in cougar populations during 1991–2010, a period over which human-caused cougar mortality increased rapidly. We provide evidence that cougars have expanded their range in northern and eastern Alberta in tandem with increasing sport hunting and other sources of human-caused mortality. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.