Panthera’s Puma Program is working to better understand and protect pumas in key parts of their range, while simultaneously combatting the old mythology that perpetuates the puma as a solitary, dangerous predator.
In the southernmost Chilean Patagonia, Panthera is working to address illegal puma poaching and mitigate human-puma conflict. Panthera is currently focusing efforts on the area surrounding Torres del Paine National Park, which sees both incredible levels of poaching and substantial predation on sheep suffered by ranch owners. Panthera’s work in this region consists of two interacting tenets: better understanding puma numbers and behaviors within the park and protecting pumas outside the park by working toward solutions to prevent puma predation on sheep (and subsequent retaliatory killing).
Based in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project is focused on collecting comprehensive data about the behavior and ecology of pumas. Launched in 2001, the program has collared and monitored more than 130 individual pumas and is one of very few long-term puma projects ever conducted. Using satellite-GPS collars, motion-triggered cameras, and other novel research methods, our scientists are tracking puma movements, recording new behaviors in the wild, identifying dens, and monitoring kittens from an early age. The project’s current focus includes population dynamics, habitat selection, foraging ecology, interactions with other carnivores, and the social behaviors and organization of pumas.
Additionally, Panthera is initiating an important collaborative research effort in the San Francisco Bay Area to study how pumas behave and survive in an urban interface environment.