The cougar, which is also commonly referred to as a puma, mountain lion or panther, is the second largest cat in North America. Unlike other big cats, however, the cougar cannot roar. Instead, the large feline purrs like a house cat.
Cougars have been long been killed by both sport hunters and farmers protecting their livestock. Other threats to cougar populations include habitat loss and fragmentation and automobile accidents. As a result, the cougar population has significantly decreased.
Although they once ranged throughout North and South America, they are no longer found in the eastern portion of the United States and Canada, the exception being a small population in Florida. The subspecies known as the Florida panther is considered to be critically endangered, and agencies are working to maintain the current population. There are still, however, several thousand cougars in the wild, and as a result, they listed as being of 'least concern' on the IUCN Red List.
What You Can Do To Help
It is difficult to stop habitat loss or reverse its effects, but there are some ways you can help. You can help persuade your congressperson to designate the cougar as a protected animal. This legally prevents the taking or injuring of cougars, unless they pose a threat. This law has been in effect in the state of California since the approval of Proposition 117 in 1990.
You can also appeal to your congress people advocating the preservation of open land in order to maintain a livable habitat for cougars. In addition, you can donate directly to the Mountain Lion Foundation.
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