Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club
Mountain lion (Puma concolor) | ESA status: none
This reclusive golden cat (also known as the puma, panther, or cougar) is magnificent and powerful, but faces chronic persecution at the hands of humans.
Mountain lion habitat
Mountain lions have the largest range of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, and can be found from Canada to South America. Their large range stems from their adaptability; a mountain lion will eat any animal it can catch successfully, from deer to insects.
Mountain lion lifestyle
Mountain lions are solitary animals, with adult cats rarely coming into contact with one another. They patrol large territories—sometimes more than 300 square miles.
The mountain lion is an ambush predator, stalking its prey before leaping onto its back and ending its life with a suffocating bite. After a kill, the mountain lion will hide the carcass, then return to eat over a period of days.
Female mountain lions typically give birth to a litter of one to six cubs every two to three years.
What are the threats to the mountain lion?
While the mountain lion is not in danger of becoming extinct, it is nevertheless subjected to cruel hunting practices. Targeted as “threats to livestock”, mountain lions are often hunted with packs of dogs, then shot at close range when the hunter arrives. Many mountain lions are victims of the federal wildlife-killing program, Wildlife Services, which reported slaughtering 319 cats in 2017.
Habitat loss is an additional threat to mountain lions. Because they range so widely, large, connected habitat corridors are integral to their survival.
What WildEarth Guardians is doing to preserve the mountain lion
Conserving these cats has long been a priority for WildEarth Guardians, with our focus on eliminating or greatly reducing hunting quotas set by state wildlife agencies and the game commissions that oversee them. In the past we instituted new policies to educate hunters about the need to protect lactating females to ensure young kittens aren’t abandoned. We’re now fighting a proposal to allow trapping of mountain lions in New Mexico. Ultimately we believe we need new state governance structures to ensure that these beautiful animals are treated with respect and awe instead of fear and hatred.