The adaptable Puma (Puma concolor) is also known as the Cougar, Mountain Lion and Panther among many other names. Pumas are widespread from Canada through North and Central America to South America, but have disappeared from many regions within this vast range due to persecution.
Key Facts about Pumas
~ Plain coat - no spots / stripes ~
~ Vast range in W Hemisphere ~
~ Over 40 common names ~
Puma (Puma concolor) Classification
Pumas belong to the genus Puma and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Puma cat species is:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Family: Felidae (cats)
Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)
Species: Puma concolor (puma / cougar / mountain lion)
The scientific name for the Puma or Cougar or Mountain Lion is Puma concolor which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).
Puma (Puma concolor) Subspecies
Based on genetic studies referenced in the last taxonomic revision of Felidae in 2017, six subspecies of Pumas are recognized:
Puma concolor cougar - North America
Puma concolor costaricensis - Central America
Puma concolor capricornensis - South America - eastern
Puma concolor concolor - South America - northern
Puma concolor cabrerae - South America - central
Puma concolor puma - South America - southern
Puma Conservation and Research
The global conservation status of Pumas is Least Concern (LC) although some subpopulations are considered threatened.
The following organizations are actively protecting the declining populations of Pumas. Projects include facilitating recolonization and dealing with new threats of road barriers and roadkill in built up areas in North America.
Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!
Puma Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on pumas / mountain lions / cougars:
- Puma Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Puma Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Puma Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
Puma Tours South America
The following organizations offer tours to South America where you are likely to see Pumas in their natural habitat. These companies offer small group experiences, support conservation projects, and indicate their trips are environmentally and ethically responsible:
Always bear in mind that sightings of any particular animal in its natural environment are not guaranteed and the experience of guides will greatly enhance your success.
Books about Pumas / Cougars / Mountain Lions
Most of these books also have Kindle Editions.