March 7, 2008, Kofa Website Situation Update
[Please see archived updates for additional background]
- The next annual survey will be conducted in the fall of 2008. Results of the 2007 survey are available in the December 2007 update.
- The winter rains have been very good to the Kofa Mountains Complex. Water and forage conditions remain good across the refuge and the greater Kofa Mountains Complex. As a side note, there should be good wildflower viewing this year across the area.
- Since the January update, two additional desert bighorn sheep kills were confirmed on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge for KM03, the large adult male mountain lion captured in the western Kofa Mountains on October 21. The first, a ram, was killed in late February in the east end of the Kofa Mountains. The second, an apparently pregnant ewe, was killed in early March in the west end of the Kofa Mountains.
- The ewe was one of the 30 bighorn ewes collared in the Kofa Mountains last November in a coordinated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Department effort to gather information for predation monitoring and management and for research into bighorn nutrition.
- The Department’s May 2007 “Kofa Mountains Complex Predation Management Plan” established an “offending lion” standard of two bighorn sheep kills within a six-month period. This is the most conservative “offending lion” standard of the major bighorn sheep recovery plans currently being implemented in the western United States. KM03, having killed three bighorn sheep within the past 60 days is an offending lion and will be managed in accordance with the Kofa predation management plan.
Cache site for the first confirmed bighorn sheep kill
by collared mountain lion KM03, a mature ram killed
off the refuge in Tank Mountains, January 2008
- This brings the total confirmed big game kills for this lion to eight: five mule deer and three desert bighorn sheep. Due to the intermittent nature of the data feed from this lion’s GPS collar (a function of limited satellite availability and the lion’s activity patterns), it is likely some kills have not been discovered. As with the two previous collared lions, possible additional kills will be investigated when the collar is ultimately recovered and all data downloaded from it.
- Efforts to capture and collar additional lions before the onset of the summer continues.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to develop a mountain lion management plan for the Kofa NWR. This plan will undergo a full environmental compliance process, to include all associated public review.
Recreational Impact on Bighorn Habitat:
- The 2008 season will commence on December 1, 2008, and run through the month. The results of the 2007 season are available in the January 2008 monthly update.
Research and Monitoring
- As of March 7, there has been one mortality among the 30 bighorn ewes captured and collared in November as part of a nutrition study, and a predation monitoring and management program.
Litigation on Kofa NWR Wildlife Waters: