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Pumas (Puma concolor) – also known as cougars, mountain lions, panthers, and catamounts – span 28 countries in the Americas, but the species is considered to be declining overall.

IUCN Red List Status
Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically endangered
Status on CITES Appendices
Habitat   28
Pumas inhabit every forest type across their range, as well as montane deserts and open steppe grasslands   Pumas inhabit 28 countries across the Americas


The puma has the largest geographic range of any native terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, from southern Alaska down to the southern tip of Chile.

Pumas were eliminated from the entire eastern half of North America, except for a tiny population in Florida, within 200 years of European colonization. Today, the remnant population in Florida is endangered but recovering.

The puma is listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, but the status of puma populations in Central and South America is largely unknown, and many are suspected to be in decline.

Main threats

Pumas are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation due to human development of land.

Human-puma conflict, including retaliatory and pre-emptive killing, is a primary threat to pumas and is exacerbated by old mythology perpetuating the fear of pumas.

In some parts of the Americas, puma prey populations are depleted due to overhunting by humans as well as loss of habitat. Legal and illegal hunting, including bounty hunting and poaching, poses a significant threat to pumas throughout their range.

Conservation efforts

Puma is protected across much of its range, with hunting prohibited in most of Argentina, and all of Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay, and hunting regulations in place in Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States.

Conservation organizations are working on initiatives to mitigate human-puma conflict in South America.