Definition of a Breeding Population

In another online discussion, cougar biologist Dr. John Laundre was asked, "What is the difference between a lion breeding population and a breeding lion?"

His response - Basically numbers. If there is just one female in the area and she has a litter, it is really not a breeding population as we don't know if those kittens will survive or her for that matter. A breeding population is one where there are enough females to sustain the "population" . The size of the population is arbitrary but we at least have more than one breeding female. What normally will happen in these frontier moves by mountain lions is that a female will disperse into an area of unoccupied, by females, habitat, attract a dispersing male and the first litter is born. IF it is successful and at least one or two of these kittens are also females, they too will mate and reproduce and then you are on your way to a breeding population. How big it gets depends on the amount of habitat. Some of the smaller areas, as I mentioned in my book [PHANTOMS OF THE PRAIRIE], may only have a few females and are always at risk of dying out.


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