Sunday, April 29, 2007

Estimates of S.D. cougar population continue to grow

By The Associated Press

PIERRE -- Estimates on the number of mountain lions in the Black Hills continues to grow, possibly topping 210 animals.

In 2005, when the Game, Fish and Parks Department first proposed a hunting season on lions, it estimated the cougar population at around 145.

Last year, it boosted the estimate to a range of 165 to 210.

"Revised estimates indicate the mountain lion population is on the upper end, if not slightly above that range," Tony Leif of the state Game, Fish & Parks Department said this week.

The new population estimate is based on data from 47 lions that are outfitted with radio collars, plus four methods of calculating mountain lion numbers.

Leif said the research indicates that the lion population is evenly split between adults and dependent young lions.

The Game, Fish & Parks Commission will consider the regulations for a third hunting season when it meets May 10 and 11. 04/27/news/top/news01_mountain _lion_numbers_rise.txt

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