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).
We're supporting a proposed expansion of the International Biosphere Reserve to include surrounding ranches by testing, monitoring, and promoting guard dogs, creating new guidelines for viewing pumas in and around the park, and studying density and population dynamics of pumas using scat-detection dog and drone censuses. We will also do an economic assessment of puma ecotourism activities.
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 collared and monitored more than 150 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 tracked puma movements, recorded new behaviors in the wild, identified dens, and monitored kittens from an early age. The team's extraordinary body of research work is among the most comprehensive ever compiled on the species and comprises much of the recent science elucidating these elusive creatures.
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.