Conservation of Puma

Conservation of Puma

Project Animal(s) : Puma (Puma concolor)
Project Category : Mammals
Project Region : South America
Project Type : Conservation
Project URL :
Project is timebound? : No

Although the puma is a large animal, it is believed to be more closely related to small cat species because it lacks the elastic hyoid and enlarged vocal folds of the Pantherines. The puma’s long spinal column is similar to the closely related cheetah, and provides increased lumbar flexion.

The major threats to pumas are habitat loss and fragmentation, and human persecution. It has already lost up to 50% of its original distribution range. The remaining endangered subpopulation in Florida is threatened mostly by roads, which are the principal cause of mortality. Moreover, roads act as major barriers to puma movements and dispersal. Illegal and unsustainable hunting of the prey base of pumas is a problem as well.

The puma is included in Appendix II of CITES. The subspecies P. c. costaricensis and cougar are included in Appendix I. The puma is protected across much of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Brazil, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay, and regulated in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States. In Ecuador, El Salvador and Guyana the puma is not legally protected. In California, which holds one of North America’s largest puma populations, voters in 1990 narrowly approved a ballot initiative which directed the state to prohibit sport hunting of pumas (formerly permitted) and to allocate US$ 30 million a year for the next 30 years toward provision of habitat for pumas and other threatened species.

The isolated Florida subpopulation has been supplemented by a reintroduction of pumas from Texas and puma-friendly wildlife road crossings have also been constructed to help reduce vehicle-puma collisions. The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently involved in several collaborative projects for Florida panther conservation and management. These include studies of demographic parameters, habitat selection and movement rates.

There is good information available about the protection status of the puma on a regional level in North America. Research and monitoring is well-established in the U.S. and Canada and increasing in Latin American countries. Nevertheless, there is a need for the implementation of programs to mitigate human-puma conflicts, to study the effect of puma versus jaguar depredation on livestock, and to assure connectivity between puma populations.

Project Agency : Cat Specialist Group

Project Agency Contact :

Project Researcher : Luis Pacheco

Project Researcher Contact :

Additional Information :