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Puma (Puma concolor)

  • Puma (Puma concolor)

    Common Name/s: Mountain lion, Puma, Cougar  
    Scientific name: Puma concolor
    Brazilian common name/s: Onça-parda, Onça-vermelha, Suçuarana, Leão-baio

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)


    Body length (cm): (86-154) b Tail (cm):  (63-96) b Diet: Carnivorous
    Weight (kg): (29-120) b Height (cm):  Home range (km2): (65 - 608) c
    Litter size: 2 (1-6) a Gestation (days): (82-96) a 
    Longevity (years): 13 (max) a
    Social structure: Solitary
    Activity pattern: Nocturnal and diurnal

    a  (Currier 1983), b (Emmons & Feer 1997), c(Grigione et al. 2002)

    Physical description
    It has a soft coat, with a sandy- brownish colouration all over the body except the ventral region that is clearer. Cubs are born with black spots and blue eyes. The size and weight varies with geographic region and they have an elongated, even delicate form that makes this species very agile. They can jump off the ground to a height of 5.5 m in a tree in a single bound.

    Habitat and Ecology
    One of the most adaptable felids, pumas are the most widely distributed carnivore in the Americas. It occurs from south-western Canada to the Straits of Magellan on the southern tip of Argentina and Chile. It s an animal that adapts to various environments, from hot deserts to Andean highlands and is also found in both tropical and temperate forests (Caso et al. 2008).
    They are solitary and territorial, with increased activity at dusk and during the night, however timing of activity can vary greatly (Romero-Muñoz et al. 2010). Couples meet only during the reproductive period.
    Just like the jaguar, pumas feed on wild animals of all sizes, exerting a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the ecosystems where they occur (Ripple & Beschta 2006). Generally they take smaller prey compared with jaguar, especially when both species occur in the same areas (Farrell et al. 2000; Husseman et al. 2003; Nunez et al. 2000; Scognamillo et al. 2003).

    Threats and Conservation
    Classified by the IUCN as “Least Concern” due to their wide distribution but populations are declining (Caso et al. 2008). Hunting, habitat alteration and consequent reduction in food availability are the main threats to the survival of the puma. For example synergistic effects of habitat loss and hunting negatively influence populations in Amazonian forest fragments (Michalski & Peres 2005; Michalski et al. 2006). Pumas are classified by IBAMA as threatened with extinction.

    Online links
    IUCN redlist (http://www.iucnredlist.org) presents a summary of current knowledge on distribution and conservation status

    IUCN Cat Specialist Group:

    http://www.catsg.org/catsgportal/20_catsg-website/home/index_en.htm

    IUCN Cat Specialist Group species accounts:

    http://www.catsg.org/catsgportal/cat-website/20_cat-website/home/index_en.htm

    REFERENCES
    Caso, A., Lopez-Gonzalez, C., Payan, E., Eizirik, E., de Oliveira, T., Leite-Pitman, R., Kelly, M., Valderrama, C., & Lucherini, M. (2008). Puma concolor. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>, , Downloaded on 08 July 2010.

    Currier, M. J. P. (1983). Felis concolor. Mammalian Species, 200, 1-7.

    Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1997). Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Farrell, L. E., Romant, J., & Sunquist, M. E. (2000). Dietary separation of sympatric carnivores identified by molecular analysis of scats. Molecular Ecology, 9, 1583-1590.

    Grigione, M. M., Beier, P., Hopkins, R. A., Neal, D., Padley, W. D., Schonewald, C. M., & Johnson, M. L. (2002). Ecological and allometric determinants of home-range size for mountain lions (Puma concolor). Animal Conservation, 5, 317-324.

    Husseman, J. S., Murray, D. L., Power, G., Mack, C., Wenger, C. R., & Quigley, H. (2003). Assessing differential prey selection patterns between two sympatric large carnivores. Oikos, 101, 591-601.

    Michalski, F., & Peres, C. A. (2005). Anthropogenic determinants of primate and carnivore local extinctions in a fragmented forest landscape of southern Amazonia. Biological Conservation, 124, 383-396.

    Michalski, F., Boulhosa, R. L. P., Faria, A., & Peres, C. A. (2006). Human-wildlife conflicts in a fragmented Amazonian forest landscape: determinants of large felid depredation on livestock. Animal Conservation, 9, 179-188.

    Nunez, R., Miller, B., & Lindzey, F. (2000). Food habits of jaguars and pumas in Jalisco, Mexico. Journal of Zoology, 252, 373-379.

    Ripple, W. J., & Beschta, R. L. (2006). Linking a cougar decline, trophic cascade, and catastrophic regime shift in Zion National Park. Biological Conservation, 133, 397-408.

    Romero-Muñoz, A., Maffei, L., Cuéllar, E., & Noss, A. J. (2010). Temporal separation between jaguar and puma in the dry forests of southern Bolivia. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 26, 303-311.

    Scognamillo, D., Maxit, I. E., Sunquist, M., & Polisar, J. (2003). Coexistence of jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor) in a mosaic landscape in the Venezuelan llanos. Journal of Zoology, 259, 269-279.

     

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