Linzey, Donald W. Wytheville Community College, Wytheville, Virginia.
Last reviewed:April 2020
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A large, tawny brown wild cat, Puma concolor (family Felidae), once widespread over most of the Americas; also known as catamount, mountain lion, painter, and puma. The cougar (Puma concolor; see illustration) is a carnivorous member of the family Felidae. This wild cat once had the largest range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It is also known as puma, mountain lion, catamount, panther, painter, deer tiger, American lion, Mexican lion, chim blea, el leon, and leopardo in various parts of its range in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. In addition, there are more than 30 Native American names for this animal, such as the Cherokee tlv-da-tsi. Although extirpated from much of its range in the United States and parts of South America as a consequence of habitat destruction and human depredation, this large cat is still common locally from the Rocky Mountains westward, along the Mexican border in Texas, in South Dakota, in southern Florida, and possibly from central Maine into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. See also: Carnivora; Cat; Conservation of species; Endangered species; Extinction; Mammalia; Population dispersal; Population dispersion; Population ecology; Population viability
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