US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in THE PRAIRIE NATURALIST 36(2): June 2004 Published by the North Dakota Natural Science Society.


Mortality from natural causes has been documented throughout the range of the cougar (Puma concolor), including California (Beier and Barrett 1993), Canada (Ross et al. 1995), Florida (Taylor et al. 2002), Idaho (Hornocker 1970), Nevada (Ashman et al. 1983), New Mexico (Logan and Sweanor 2001), and Utah (Gashwiler and Robinette 1957, Lindzey et al. 1988). Intraspecific killing by adult males is the most common cause of death in unhunted populations; adult males have killed kittens, subadults, and adults of both sexes (Beier and Barrett 1993, Maehr 1997, Logan and Sweanor 2001, Taylor et al. 2002). Other mortality factors include other carnivores such as the gray wolf (Canis lupus) (Boyd and Neale 1992) and coyote (Canis latrans) (Logan and Sweanor 2001), injuries from prey (e.g., North American porcupine [Erethizon dorsatum; Robinette et al. 1959], deer [Odocoileus spp.; Lindzey et al. 1988], elk [Cervus elaphus], and bighorn sheep [Ovis canadensis; Ross et al. 1995]), starvation, accidents (Lindzey 1987), parasites, disease (Dixon 1982, Logan and Sweanor 2001), old age (Hornocker 1970), and snakebites (Logan and Sweanor 2001). We report the death of an adult female cougar from a forest fire in the Black Hills, South Dakota.