Pumas, mountain lions, cougars, whatever. Anyway, here’s an article pointing out that they may be more social than generally assumed . . .
Supposedly solitary pumas actually hang out with their fellow big cats quite often, frequently coming together and hissing and snarling before settling down to share a delicious elk carcass.
That’s the startling discovery made by scientists who recently tracked 13 pumas — also called mountain lions or cougars — and set up cameras at kill sites. They recorded dozens of peaceful social interactions between these elusive felines.
Pumas can live for more than a dozen years in the wild and have huge home ranges that can stretch for hundreds of miles. Scientists used to think that they lived lonely lives and only came together to mate or fight over territory.
Here’s some interesting research on mountain lion-human interaction. Mountain lions, it seems, aren’t just elusive, they actively avoid contact with humans. It’s almost insulting . . .
“Fraidy cat” isn’t the way most people think of mountain lions, but when it comes to encounters with humans, perhaps they should.
New research into the behavior of these big cats indicates that they don’t like encountering humans any more than we like bumping into them on hiking trails. The findings are particularly valuable as human development encroaches on lion habitat and drives up the number of human-puma encounters.
“We exposed pumas in the Santa Cruz mountains to the sound of human voices to see if they would react with fear and flee, and the results were striking: They were definitely afraid of humans,” said Justine Smith, lead author of the paper “Fear of the human ‘super predator’ reduces feeding time in large carnivores,” published in the June 21 online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
This is a seriously cute photo, but the attached story offers a lesson in habitat isolation and its worrisome effects on genetic diversity . . .
Admit it. You only clicked on this story because of the photo of that insanely cute mountain lion kitten. You just wanted to gaze into her (yes, it’s a her) milky blue eyes.
But there’s more to the story of this kitten. Researchers have named her P-54. She’s no more than a few months old. And – this is the sad part – it’s likely that she’s the product of inbreeding.
The kitten was born amidst the urban sprawl of Southern California in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban national park in the country. The recreation area is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, agricultural fields and greater Los Angeles.
Here’s a pretty interesting article about Yellowstone National Park’s cougar population . . .
Through DNA analysis of scat and hair, along with photographs and specially equipped GPS collars, researchers in Yellowstone National Park are acquiring new information about the Northern Region’s secretive cougars.
“Because cats aren’t seen or heard much, they’re kind of out of sight, out of mind,” said Dan Stahler, Cougar Project manager.
“We’re trying to change the dialogue and get the public to understand this is a multi-predator ecosystem,” he added. “There’s another top predator that also plays an important role here.”