To celebrateInternational Puma Day on August 30, we’ve compiled ten of Panthera’s greatest blogs about this beloved big cat! The puma – also known as the cougar, mountain lion, panther, and catamount – lives in 28 countries in the Americas. Despite its wide range, the puma is poorly understood and thought to be declining overall. Panthera’s Puma Program works across the puma’s range, including on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington and the region of Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, to study these big cats and reduce human-puma conflict by promoting sustainable ecotourism.
In 2018, Panthera launched the Olympic Cougar Project- a large-scale, multi-national collaborative effort to assess puma (or cougars, as they’re called locally in the Pacific Northwest) connectivity in western Washington State.
By: Sara Cendejas-Zarelli, Project Biologist with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
The Olympic Cougar Project represents an important and exciting partnership between Panthera and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to study and protect pumas in Washington’s stunning Olympic Peninsula. Together we are establishing additional partnerships to continue towards our goal of increasing connectivity and genetic viability of these big cats.
In 2018, Dr. Elbroch urged western states to delay puma hunting seasons until December 1 to protect the youngest kittens as a simple, common-sense change that we can apply immediately to increase protections for puma families in hunted populations.
Dr. Elbroch’s research published in the scientific journal Ecology and Evolution revealed that a perfect storm of three overlapping management actions dating back to the mid-1990s have contributed, sometimes unintentionally, to the 48% decline in the puma population north of Jackson, Wyoming.
By: Omar Ohrens, Conservation Scientist, Panthera Puma Program
Panthera announced our new partnership with Leona Amarga, the business entity that manages puma tourism on Estancia Laguna Amarga along the border of Torres del Paine National Park in southernmost Chilean Patagonia. Together with Dania Goic and local guides, we are creating safety protocols for puma tourism, estimating local puma abundance and expanding knowledge.
Panthera applauds California’s decision to grant temporary endangered species status to Central-coast, and southern puma populations, protecting this iconic big cat using science, rather than opinion or politics. Special thanks to the overwhelming support of the people of California, and the dedication of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For years, harvesting pumas has been used as a way to maintain robust mule deer populations for hunters to target. A Panthera study suggests that heavy hunting of pumas may actually have the opposite effect. This blog explores the science behind pumas and their prey, and how that science may, or may not, influence policy decisions.
As Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project in Wyoming closes down, biologist Michelle Peziol records her last outing with houndsmen Boone, Sam and Jake Smith, to capture a puma named F47 and remove her collar for the last time.
In response to the 2018 U.S. Fish and Wildlife declaration that the “eastern puma” (Puma concolor couguar) is extinct, Dr. Elbroch clears up some misunderstandings about these big cats and explains the real story behind puma history in the United States.
A 2017 Panthera paper published in Science Advances provided the first evidence of complex social strategies in any solitary carnivore—and showing that pumas, in particular, are more social than previously thought.