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Defending Mountain Lions Earlier than They Grow to be Endangered


Los Angeles lately celebrated the lifetime of a really well-known and dearly cherished persona: “Hollywood Cat” P-22 (Puma No. 22). The sole mountain lion to make the Santa Monica Mountains Nationwide Recreation Middle its dwelling gained fairly the popularity throughout his ‘reign’ in Tinsel City. His loss of life by euthanasia—due to current diseases and a latest harm from a attainable car strike—was bemoaned by many animal lovers regionally, nationally and even globally.

Distinctive to P-022’s case was that he known as Griffith Park, on the japanese aspect of the Santa Monica Mountains, his dwelling—a really small geographic space for an grownup puma to thrive in or discover a mate. P-22 made it over from the western aspect of the mountains the place he was born, crossing two main metropolis freeways—one thing that different mountain lions have died trying.

Via his lengthy presence in L.A., P-22 introduced consideration to pumas worldwide. On this reminiscence, we discover this massive cat’s historical past—and future.

The place Do Mountain Lions Stay?

Pumas, cougars, panthers, painters, catamounts, mountain lions—all of those names refer to at least one giant wild cat with the scientific title Puma concolor. The multitude of names might be attributed to the animal’s previous abundance throughout the western hemisphere and the totally different tribes and nationalities that encountered the species over time.

Right now, the story is totally different. Solely 14 western states in North America have mountain lion populations, with just a few different very small and negligible numbers in different areas. Specialists estimate that about 30,000 cougars name the USA dwelling, with the bulk residing in Colorado, Montana and California.

Mountain lion puma cougar sits peacefully laying on a moss covered rock

Causes for the diminished numbers embody progress in human populations the place mountain lions had been as soon as current, poaching and searching, lack of habitat resulting from pure disasters and land improvement, and even air pollution. And with most mountain lions sustaining a solitary presence—they solely transfer in packs when mating or parenting—monitoring their actions is a Herculean job.

At Bryce Canyon Nationwide Park, mountain lions have been often noticed at night time alongside the park roads or when caught for a fast second in automotive headlights. The massive cats are most lively within the winter, when climate circumstances preserve the vast majority of guests at bay. Mountain lions may also be discovered within the Grand Canyon, however right here, too, they’re elusive and very tough to trace.

Central and South America have some puma populations as nicely, largely concentrated in Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Panama, Belize and Costa Rica. Mountain lions can survive in quite a lot of habitats, together with mountains, forests and even deserts.

Cougar standing on red sandstone ledge looking over it's shoulder towards the right with southwestern landscape in the background

On the prowl within the American Southwest.

8 Quick Details About Mountain Lions

Cougar or Mountain lion (Puma concolor) jumping from one rock to another in the winter snow

  1. Mountain lions can climb over a 12-foot fence and leap 15 toes up a tree with ease. They’re additionally identified for his or her velocity.
  2. They’re strictly carnivores. Cougars eat deer, elk and different smaller animals. Solely on very uncommon events would you discover one feeding on vegetation.
  3. Within the wild, mountain lions stay about 10 years. In captivity, mountain traces can stay for twice as lengthy. At 12 years previous, P-022 was one of many oldest males documented by the NPS.
  4. Pumas don’t roar like different giant wild cats. As an alternative, they hiss, purr and growl similar to home cats do.
  5. They’ve wonderful night time imaginative and prescient, so most pumas are on the prowl between sundown and dawn, trying to find their prey. Subsequently, in areas with identified mountain lion presence, it’s advisable to chorus from strolling alone within the streets or leaving small pets or youngsters out after darkish unsupervised.
  6. The cats are listed within the Guinness Guide of World Data because the mammal with probably the most names, with greater than 40 within the English language alone!
  7. They not often assault people. Cougars shy from any interplay with people, and, in the course of the uncommon encounter, they normally scare simply and run away.
  8. Child mountain lions—known as cubs or kittens—have blue eyes and spots on their pores and skin, each of which lose shade as they mature to maturity. Males are known as toms and females are known as queens.

Mountain lion protects her young cubs

Cougar Conservation

Though thought of of ‘least concern’ per the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature
Pink Checklist of Threatened Species
, you will need to act now to preserve the species, as numbers of mature mountain lions preserve declining.
A number of organizations are concerned in applications to extend mountain lion populations of their areas by schooling, analysis, consciousness and different conservation efforts.

Panthera, a company that works to guard wild cats, makes use of outreach, analysis, monitoring and schooling to assist promote progress in mountain lion numbers. The nonprofit’s primary targets are to teach the general public about pumas and their significance to ecosystems, deal with the fragmentation of mountain lion habitats that negatively impacts the connectedness of the puma populations, scale back searching and trapping of the species, and improve human tolerance towards them.

The Cougar Conservancy has a SaveLA Cougars program and works to cut back human-wildlife battle and preserve cougar populations. It’s a part of the public-private partnership to assemble the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing in California—the world’s largest wildlife overpass—together with a number of different organizations. The group additionally promotes including cougars to the California Endangered Species Act.

Puma, cougar portrait on light background

3 Methods You Can Assist Mountain Lions

1. One of many best methods to assist cougars is to assist organizations working towards conservation efforts, similar to those talked about above.

2. Wish to see mountain lions within the wild? Guarantee any wildlife tour or different out of doors expedition involving mountain lion sightings is organized with the most effective intentions for the species and their survival. Nat Hab’s journeys to locations just like the American Southwest, the Amazon, Patagonia and Costa Rica encourage wildlife conservation whereas taking vacationers to wild locations. 

3. Should you stay in (or go to) an space with puma populations, make your security and theirs a precedence. Mountain lions concerned in human-animal conflicts are at a better danger of being captured and euthanized. At all times verify your environment, particularly after darkish, and guarantee you will have firm when out for a stroll on lonely streets. Though cougars not often assault folks, they might accomplish that in the event that they really feel threatened. Study what to do in case of a mountain lion encounter and methods to scare it away.

Young mountain lion kitten Adorable cute puma cub

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