Puma concolor 

Scope:Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_onStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae

Scientific Name: Puma concolor
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1771)
Common Name(s):
English Puma, Mountain Lion, Cougar, Red Tiger, Deer Tiger
Spanish León Americano, León Bayo, León Colorado, León De Montaña, Mitzli, Onza Bermeja
Synonym(s):
Felis concolor Linnaeus, 1771
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy is currently under review by the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group. While 32 subspecies have been classically described, on the basis of genetic analysis Culver et al. (2000) suggest six subspecies as follows:

P. c. cougar: North America
P. c. costaricensis: Central America
P. c. capricornensis: eastern South America
P. c. concolor: northern South America
P. c. cabrerae: central South America
P. c. puma: southern South America.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-04-17
Assessor(s): Nielsen, C., Thompson, D., Kelly, M. & Lopez-Gonzalez, C.A.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Schipper, J., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.
Contributor(s): Araguillin, E., Bonacic, C., Caso, A., Corrales-Gutiérrez, D., Eizirik, E., Gollop, M., Guarda, N., Hernández, S., Huaranca, J., Jordan, C., Leite-Pitman, M.R.P., Lucherini, M., Osorio Popiolek, C.T., Paviolo, A., Payan, E., Petracca, L., Robinson, H., Salom, R., Saucedo, C., Tether, R., Trottier, T., Valderrama, C., Villalba Murillo, M., Wallace, R., Watkins, W., Weir, R., Zapata-Ríos, G., de Angelo, C. & de Oliveira, T.
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern because it is one of the most widely-distributed mammals in the Western Hemisphere. Although it has been extirpated from its former range in midwestern and eastern North America (Nowell and Jackson 1996), it is attempting to recolonize this region (Thompson and Jenks 2010, LaRue et al. 2012) and populations are healthy enough for regulated harvest in western North America. However, it is considered to be declining elsewhere in its range, and as a large carnivore intricately linked to other wildlife and habitat associations, from a social and political perspective its conservation and management presents numerous challenges.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2002 Near Threatened (NT)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The geographic range of the Puma is the largest of any terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002), from Canada through the US, Central and South America to the southern tip of Chile. While the Puma is an adaptable cat, being found in every major habitat type of the Americas, including the high Andes (5,800 m asl in southern Peru; Sunquist and Sunquist 2002), it was eliminated from the entire eastern half of North America within 200 years following European colonization (Nowell and Jackson 1996). A remnant Endangered supopulation persists in Florida. Recent confirmations and suitable habitat in the Midwestern U.S. indicate attempts at recolonization (LaRue and Nielsen 2011, LaRue et al. 2012).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Upper elevation limit (metres):5800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Canadian population was roughly estimated at 3,500-5,000 and the western US population at 10,000 in the early 1990s (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The population of Central and South America is likely much higher, although it is unclear how abundant Pumas are in the dense rainforest of the Amazon basin (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The Florida subpopulation, numbering 100-180, is isolated, and has been supplemented by a reintroduction of pumas from Texas (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 2014). In Brazil it is considered Near Threatened but subspecies outside the Amazon basic are considered Vulnerable (Machado et al. 2005). It is also considered Near Threatened in Peru (Inrena 2006), Argentina (Diaz and Ojeda 2000) and Colombia (Rodriguez-Mahecha et al. 2006), and Data Deficient (inadequately known) in Chile (CONAMA 2005).

Density estimates include:
  • Utah, US: 0.3-0.5/100 km2 (Hemker et al. 1984)
  • Washington, US:  5.03/100 km2 (Robinson et al. 2008)
  • Idaho, US: 0.77-1.04/100 km2 (Laundre and Clark 2003)
  • Peru: 2.4/100 km2 (Janson and Emmons 1990)
  • Patagonia: 6/100 km2 (Franklin et al. 1999)
  • Pantanal 4.4/100 km(Crawshaw and Quigley unpubl. in Nowell and Jackson 1996)
  • Belize 2-5/100 km(Kelly et al. 2008)
  • Argentina 0.5-0.8/100 km(Kelly et al. 2008)
  • Bolivia 5-8/100 km2 (Kelly et al. 2008)
  • West Mexico 3-5/100 km2 (Nunez et al. 1998)
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found in a broad range of habitats, in all forest types, as well as lowland and montane desert. Several studies have shown that habitat with dense understory vegetation is preferred, however, Pumas can live in very open habitats with only a minimum of vegetative cover (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Pumas co-occur with Jaguars in much of their Latin American range, and may favour more open habitats than their larger competitor, although both can be found in dense forest (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).

Pumas are capable of taking large prey, but when available small to medium-sized prey are more important in their diet (in tropical portions of the range). This is true of wild prey as well as livestock (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007). In North America, deer make up 60-80% of the Puma's diet, and the mean weight of prey taken is 39-48 kg. In Florida, however, where deer numbers are low, Pumas take smaller prey including feral pigs, raccoons and armadillos, and deer account for only about 1/3 of the diet (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).

Home range sizes of Pumas vary considerably across their geographic distribution, and the smallest ranges tend to occur in areas where prey densities are high and prey are not migratory (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). In North America, home range sizes ranged from 32-1,031 km2 (Lindzey et al. 1987).
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pumas are legally hunted in many western US states, although hunting was banned by popular referendum in California in 1990.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pumas are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and poaching of their wild prey base. They are persecuted across their range by retaliatory hunting due to livestock depredation, and due to fear that they pose a threat to human life (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007). Pumas have killed a number of people in western Canada and the US in recent years. Pumas are legally hunted in many western US states, although hunting was banned by popular referendum in California in 1990. Road kills are the principal cause of mortality in the endangered Florida Panther subpopulation, and heavily travelled roads are a major barrier to Puma movements and dispersal (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is included in CITES Appendix II and the eastern and Central American subspecies (P. c. coryi, costaricensis and cougar) on Appendix I. This species is protected across much of its range, with hunting prohibited in most of Argentina, and all of Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay, and hunting regulations in place in Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States (Nowell and Jackson 1996).

There is a need for the implementation of programs to mitigate conflict resolution for livestock depredation and to study the real effect of Puma vs. Jaguar depredation on livestock (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007). Puma occasionally kill humans, especially in North America.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.3. Shrubland - Boreal
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.6. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.7. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.5. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability: Suitable  
4. Grassland -> 4.7. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude
suitability: Suitable  
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.3. Sub-national level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:Yes
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Culver, M., Johnson, W.E., Pecon-Slattery, J. and O'Brien, S.J. 2000. Genomic ancestry of the American puma (Puma concolor). Journal of Heredity 91: 186-197.

Díaz, G.B. and Ojeda, R.A. (eds). 2000. Libro rojo: mamíferos amenazados de la Argentina. pp. 106. Soc. Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos, Buenos Aires.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2014. Annual report on the research and management of Florida panthers: 2013-2014. Fish and Wildlife Research Institute & Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, Naples, Florida, USA.

Franklin, W.L., Johnson, W.E., Sarno, R.J. and Iriarte, J.A. 1999. Ecology of the Patagonia puma Felis concolor patagonica in southern Chile. Biological Conservation 90: 33-40.

Hemker, T.P., Lindzey, F.G. and Ackerman, B.B. 1984. Population characteristics and movement patterns of cougars in southern Utah. Journal of Wildlife Management 48: 1275-1284.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Janson, C.H. and Emmons, L.H. 1990. Ecological structure of the nonflying mammal community at Cocha Cashu Biological Station, Manu National Park, Peru. In: A.H. Gentry (ed.), Four neotropical forests, pp. 314-338. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Kelly, M.J., Noss, A.J., Di Bitetti, M., Maffei, L., Arispe, L.R., Paviolo, A., De Angelo, C.D. and Di Blanco, Y.E. 2008. Estimating puma densities from camera trapping across three study sites: Bolivia, Argentina, and Belize. Journal of Mammalogy 89(2): 408-418.

LaRue, M.A. and Nielsen, C.K. 2011. Modelling potential habitat for cougars in midwestern North America. Ecological Modelling 222: 897-900.

LaRue, M.L., Nielsen, C.K., Dowling, M., Miller, K., Wilson, B., Shaw, H. and Anderson, C.R. Jr. 2012. Cougars are recolonizing the Midwest: Analysis of cougar confirmations during 1990-2008. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: 1364-1369.

Laundre, J. and Clark, T.W. 2003. Managing puma hunting in the western United States: Through a metapopulation approach. Animal Conservation 6: 159-170.

Lindzey, F.,Novak, M., Baker, J., Obbard, M. and Malloch, B. 1987. Mountain Lion. In: M. Novak, J. A. Baker, M. E. Obbard and B. Malloch (eds), Wild furbearer management and conservation in North America, pp. 656. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Trappers Association, Ontario, Canada, Toronto.

Machado, A.B.M., Drummond, G.M. and Martins, C.S. 2005. Lista da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção: Incluindo as Espécies Quase Ameaçadas e Deficientes em Dados. Fundação Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. 1996. Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Nunez, R., Miller, B. and Lindzey, F. 1998. Ecology of Jaguars and Pumas in Jalisco, Mexico.

Robinson, H.S., Wielgus, R.B., Cooley, H.S and Cooley, S.W. 2008. Sink populations in carnivore management: cougar demography and immigration in a hunted population. Ecological Applications 18: 1028-1037.

Rodriguez-Mahecha, J.V., Alberico, M., Trujillo, F. and Jorgenson, J. 2006. Libro Rojo de los Mamíferos de Colombia. Serie Libros Rojos de Especies Amenazadas de Colombia. Conservación Internacional Colombia & Ministerio de Ambiente, vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial, Bogota, Colombia.

Sunquist, M. and Sunquist, F. 2002. Wild Cats of the World. University of Chicago Press.

Thompson, D.J. and Jenks, J.A. 2010. Dispersal movements of subadult cougars from the Black Hills: the notion of range expansion and recolonization. Ecosphere 1: 1-11.


Citation: Nielsen, C., Thompson, D., Kelly, M. & Lopez-Gonzalez, C.A. 2015. Puma concolor. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T18868A50663436. . Downloaded on 24 May 2016.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided