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Taxonomy and Evolution:
– Cougar’s scientific name proposed by Carl Linnaeus in 1771 was Felis concolor
– Cougar is closely related to the jaguarundi and the cheetah
– Genus of cougar is Puma, part of the Felinae
– Felidae family believed to have originated in Asia about 11 million years ago
– North American felids invaded South America 2-4 million years ago
– Felidae lineage migrated to the Americas 8-8.5 million years ago
– North American cougars are recent descendants of a small ancestral group
– Cougar lineage found in South America since at least the Late Pleistocene

– Cougars are agile members of the Felidae family
– Fourth largest cat species globally
– Adult males are around 2.4m long, females average 2.05m
– Tail accounts for 63 to 95cm of the overall length
– Males weigh 53-72kg, females weigh 34-48kg
– Cougars in North America weigh around 62kg for males and 42kg for females
– In British Columbia, males weigh 56.7kg, females 45.4kg
– Cougars are less muscular than jaguars but have large paws
– They have plain coloring but can vary greatly across individuals
– Leucistic individuals exist but are extremely rare

Distribution and Habitat:
– Cougar range spans 110 degrees of latitude in the Americas
– Extirpated from eastern North America except Florida
– Inhabits forests, deserts, open areas up to 5,800m elevation
– Found in Santa Ana Mountains, Sierra de San Carlos in Mexico
– Also seen in Yucatán Peninsula, El Salvador, Colombia, and Argentina

Behavior and Ecology:
– Cougars are keystone species in Western Hemisphere ecosystems
– They interact with 485 species in various ways
Research often focuses on cougar diet and prey regulation
– They link different species at many trophic levels
– Play important ecological roles in their habitats

Hunting and Diet:
– Cougar is a generalist hypercarnivore
– Prefers large mammals like deer, elk, and moose
– Also hunts smaller prey like rodents, birds, and domestic animals
– Preys on gemsbok, feral horses, and donkeys in certain regions
– Competes with wolves for resources like elk and mule deer

Cougar (Wikipedia)

The cougar (Puma concolor) (/ˈkɡər/, KOO-gər), also known as the panther, mountain lion, catamount and puma, is a large cat native to the Americas. It inhabits North, Central and South America, making it the most widely distributed wild, terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most widespread in the world. Its range spans the Canadian Territory of Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta provinces, the Rocky Mountains and areas in the Western United States. Further south, its range extends through Mexico to the Amazon Rainforest and the southern Andes Mountains in Patagonia. It is an adaptable, generalist species, occurring in most American habitat types. It prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking but also lives in open areas.

Temporal range: 1.2–0 Ma
Early PleistoceneHolocene
A North American cougar in Glacier National Park, United States
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Puma
P. concolor
Binomial name
Puma concolor
(Linnaeus, 1771)

Also see text

Cougar range (without recent confirmations across northern Canadian territories, eastern U.S. states, and Alaska)

The cougar is largely solitary. Its activity pattern varies from diurnality and cathemerality to crepuscularity and nocturnality between protected and non-protected areas, and is apparently correlated with the presence of other predators, prey species, livestock and humans. It is an ambush predator that pursues a wide variety of prey. Ungulates, particularly deer, are its primary prey, but it also hunts rodents. It is territorial and lives at low population densities. Individual home ranges depend on terrain, vegetation and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the dominant apex predator in its range, yielding prey to other predators. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare but increased in North America as more people entered cougar habitat and built farms.

The cougar is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and ongoing human development into cougar habitat has caused populations to decline in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the eastern cougar population is considered to be mostly locally extinct in eastern North America since the early 20th century, with the exception of the isolated Florida panther subpopulation.

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