Associated Press - January 9, 2009 9:05 AM ET
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is offering hunters an online course that will teach them everything they wanted to know about cougars, including how to tell whether they're male or female.
New Mexico is the second state after Colorado to offer an online cougar course.
Wildlife groups had pushed for the course as a way to protect breeding females and their dependent kittens.
Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians says kittens in their first few months of life rarely travel with their mother so hunters can't know if they have unintentionally killed a mother cat.
The course teaches that kittens younger than six months old have a 66% chance of surviving to adulthood with their mother's care. Orphaned kittens younger than six months have only a 4% chance of surviving.
On the Net:
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org