Defending Mountain Lions Earlier than They Grow to be Endangered

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

Distinctive to P-022’s case was that he referred to 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 1 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.

At this time, 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. Consultants estimate that about 30,000 cougars name the US 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 lowered numbers embody development in human populations the place mountain lions have been as soon as current, poaching and searching, lack of habitat as a consequence of pure disasters and land growth, 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 automobile headlights. The massive cats are most energetic within the winter, when climate situations preserve nearly all of guests at bay. Mountain lions may also be discovered within the Grand Canyon, however right here, too, they’re elusive and very troublesome to trace.

Central and South America have some puma populations as properly, 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 Information 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 recognized for his or her pace.
  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 outdated, 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. Due to this fact, in areas with recognized mountain lion presence, it’s advisable to chorus from strolling alone within the streets or leaving small pets or kids out after darkish unsupervised.
  6. The cats are listed within the Guinness Ebook of World Data because the mammal with essentially the most names, with greater than 40 within the English language alone!
  7. They hardly ever assault people. Cougars shy from any interplay with people, and, throughout the uncommon encounter, they normally scare simply and run away.
  8. Child mountain lions—referred to as cubs or kittens—have blue eyes and spots on their pores and skin, each of which lose colour as they mature to maturity. Males are referred to as toms and females are referred to as queens.

Mountain lion protects her young cubs

Cougar Conservation

Though thought of of ‘least concern’ per the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature
Crimson Listing 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 packages to extend mountain lion populations of their areas by training, analysis, consciousness and different conservation efforts.

Panthera, a corporation that works to guard wild cats, makes use of outreach, analysis, monitoring and training to assist promote development in mountain lion numbers. The nonprofit’s major targets are to coach 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 help organizations working towards conservation efforts, similar to those talked about above.

2. Need to see mountain lions within the wild? Guarantee any wildlife tour or different outside expedition involving mountain lion sightings is organized with one of the best 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. For those who 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 threat of being captured and euthanized. All the time verify your environment, particularly after darkish, and guarantee you might have firm when out for a stroll on lonely streets. Though cougars hardly ever assault individuals, they could achieve this in the event that they really feel threatened. Study what to do in case of a mountain lion encounter and tips on how to scare it away.

Young mountain lion kitten Adorable cute puma cub

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