We used non-invasive genetic techniques to investigate the number and distribution of cougars (Puma concolor) inhabiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. During 8 years, ≥31 resident and transient cougars were identified genetically and ≥15 individuals used the park in 2002. Based on estimates of size of home ranges of males and females, the park should support 4–6 resident adults. Genetic data suggest a high number of transients and, perhaps, an unstable population that may be the result of intense hunting pressure outside protected areas. Analysis of genetic diversity indicates restricted gene flow between the park and other populations in western Texas.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3