© 2022 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Website Header_2021
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Issues

Wolves Strongest Driver Of Mountain Lion Decline

dxabbkoQ.jpeg
Panthera
/

For the past 17 years, researchers have been tracking mountain lions, also called pumas, north of Jackson Hole. When they started the research, the population was around 20 to 25 adults, but now it's down to about 10 adults. 

"Wolves were the strongest driver of mountain lion declines," said Dr. Mark Elbroch, Puma Program Director for Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization.

He said the mountain lions have changed their behaviors in order to stay away from wolves.

"They adapted in many ways. They shifted where they hung out on the landscape. They stayed close to rocks or big trees where they could climb to escape wolves," said Elbroch. "But over the course of the study, we saw their food being stolen by wolves, we saw wolves become the dominant and leading cause of death for mountain lion kittens."

But for Elbroch, this gives some insight to what was happening in North America 300 years ago. 

"I think this study provides some really interesting insights into what a natural population would look like, a natural ecology," he said. "And that mountain lions, yes, they're going to be less abundant. It doesn't mean they're gonna be eradicated by wolves. Absolutely not. Wolves [and] mountain lions learn to live with them."

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
Related Content