English Common Names: Puma, Mountain Lion, Cougar, Panther, American Lion
Spanish Common Names: Puma, León de Montaňa, León Americano
Scientific Name: Puma concolor costaricensis
Survival Status: In Costa Rica they are considered in danger of extinction and protected under Wildlife Conservation Law No. 7.317 and they are also internationally protected by CITES (Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species). The IUCN lists them as “Least Concern” which is the least endangered of its ratings.
The IUCN Conservation status order is as follows: 1) Least Concern 2) Near Threatened 3) Vulnerable 4) Endangered 5) Critically Endangered 6) Extinct in the Wild 7) Extinct
Characteristics: This is the second largest feline found in the tropics (the Jaguar 100-350 lbs. is the largest) and they can weigh anywhere from 55 to 150 lbs. (25 to 65 kg) with the males tending to be significantly larger than the females. The subspecies found in the tropical Americas is much smaller than those found in North America as is the trend with almost all other animals. Their North American cousins can measure 9 feet or more from head to tail and weigh from 150 to 230 lbs or almost 50% more. The Puma is thought to be more genetically related to the smaller cats than to jaguars, tigers or lions. They cannot roar like the other large cats but express a variety of vocalizations like a domestic cat including a strange “mewing chirp” when in heat and a harsh, humanlike scream while mating. When not in heat these creatures spend their time in a solitary existence and like all of the tropical felines avoid forming groups or socializing in any way. They do not maintain a permanent den but are nomadic and find convenient shelter in caves, rock formations, fallen trees or thickets.
Pumas are timid and reclusive by nature preferring to avoid humans. Attacks on humans are rare; however, they have been increasing in frequency over the years. Only 18 people have been killed by Pumas in the United States from 1890 to 2005, but from 2000-2009 there have been 5 fatal attacks.
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