We collected and analyzed a 6-year remote game camera data set from the Mojave National Preserve for determining factors influencing occupancy and detection rates for mountain lions (Puma concolor) in the Mojave Desert. We detected mountain lions in 37 of 186 sampling periods at 36 sites monitored by remote game cameras. Detection rates decreased rapidly with increasing distance to shrub cover, and there was no relationship between season and detection rates. Occupancy was found to be constant across sampling periods. Our results suggest mountain lions are present in the Mojave National Preserve year-round. Our analyses can serve to further the understanding of mountain lion spatial ecology and community-level interactions in the Mojave Desert ecosystem. Lastly, our analyses represent the first occupancy and detection estimates for mountain lions in the Mojave Desert and can serve as a baseline for tracking populations over time.
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Vol. 63 • No. 4