Sink Populations in Carnivore Management: Cougar Demography and Immigration in a Hunted Population

Robinson et al. (2008)

Abstract: Carnivores are widely hunted for both sport and population control, especially where they conflict with human interests. It is widely believed that sport hunting is effective in reducing carnivore populations and related human–carnivore conflicts, while maintaining viable populations. However, the way in which carnivore populations respond to harvest can vary greatly depending on their social structure, reproductive strategies, and dispersal patterns. For example, hunted cougar (Puma concolor) populations have shown a great degree of resiliency. Although hunting cougars on a broad geographic scale (.2000 km2) has reduced densities, hunting of smaller areas (i.e., game management units, ,1000 km2), could conceivably fail because of increased immigration from adjacent source areas. We monitored a heavily hunted population from 2001 to 2006 to test for the effects of hunting at a small scale (,1000 km2) and to gauge whether population control was achieved...

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