Mountain Lion Mortality Figures for 2005 Compiled

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Game, Fish, and Parks has been recording mountain lion mortalities in South Dakota since 1996 to better understand the state’s mountain lion population.

One trend the department has noted is that in the past four years the number of annual mountain lion mortalities has been rising. This trend is but another indication that the mountain lion population in the Black Hills is expanding.

Wildlife Biologist Steve Griffin of Rapid City said GFP recorded 10 mountain lion mortalities for each year in 2002 and in 2003, then lion mortalities increased to 25 in 2004 and then to 39 in 2005.

“For last year’s 39 mortalities, 13 were from hunter harvest and 26 from other causes,” Griffin said. “Nineteen were male, 18 were female and sex on two mountain lions could not be identified because of carcass decomposition.”

The breakdown of reasons for mountain lion mortality and the number involved for 2005 include:

* Car/lion accidents - 9
* GFP removal - 8
* Incidental snare - 2
* Unknowns - 3
* Emaciation - 1
* Drowning - 1
* Accidental - 1
* Mountain lion interaction - 1
* Hunter harvest- 13