Cougar (Puma Concolor)

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Cougar, Downloaded 10/5/2009



Location and Natural Habitat
The Cougar is known to live across the Americas, from the northern Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes in South America. Cougars can make homes in many different environments, including forests, deserts, and mountainous regions. Though there has been increasing human development in Cougar habitats, they are extremely good at adapting to new environments, and their conservation status is currently at "least concern".
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Location of Cougar, downloaded 10/12/09




Niche
The Cougar is an opportunistic carnivore, which means that they eat primarily meat. They will eat all kinds of animals, from elk and deer to much smaller animals such as rabbits and porcupines. Adult Cougars tend to be 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall; males are approximately 8 feet long and are approximately 40 percent larger than their female counterparts. Cougars are solitary animals, and have territories ranging from approximately 100 to 1000 square kilometers, depending on the abundance of prey. The Cougar is very good at adapting to different climates and can therefore live almost anywhere, and is mostly active around dusk and dawn. They often compete with other large predators such as the bear, wolf, jaguar, and alligator, but is never preyed upon. Cougars begin reproduction anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 years of age. They usually produce a litter of 1 to 6 kittens every 2 or 3 years, and only the mother is involved in parenting.

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Cougar with kittens, downloaded 10/12/09



Population Expansion
The Cougar has the largest range out of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They live in forests, mountains, deserts, and even snowy regions. The Florida Panther is known to live mostly in the forests, which is a place that Cougars are accustomed to living. Florida's heat will not be a problem, as Cougars are also found in South America. Both the Florida Panther and the Cougar are primarily carnivorous. Cougars will feed off of most animals of most habitats, and can even take down much larger animals. Florida Panthers sometimes must compete with Alligators for food, but Cougars are accustomed to competition from other predators.


Species in Competition
Studies have found that the Cougar population is somewhere under 50,000. This compares to the estimated 80 to 100 Florida Panthers currently in existence. The Cougar population is declining slowly in some regions but is also exceeding expected growth in some areas. Due to conservation efforts, the Florida Panther population does not seem to be declining, but nor does it seem to be noticeably increasing, which is keeping them at great risk. It would not take a great deal of time for the Cougar to take over the niche left behind because they are already accustomed to living in such environments, it would only be a question of bringing them there.




Works Cited
About the Cougar. (2009). The Cougar Fund. Retrieved October 12, 2009, from
http://www.cougarfund.org/

Puma Concolor. (n.d.). Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology website:
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/
Puma_concolor.html

Stone, L. M. (1989). The Cougar. Rourke Enterprises.