|Photo: Alana Danko|
Features: Cougars or pumas (Puma concolor) are large, tawny or greyish brown carnivores with long tails and rounded ears. "Eastern Cougar" is the name used to describe animals inhabiting the northeastern portion of the North American range. Historically, cougars in the east occupied large forested areas that were relatively undisturbed by humans. Cougars feed mostly on deer, but will also take a variety of smaller mammals.
Status: Endangered Provincially, Data Deficient Nationally
Range: The species has a very wide range, encompassing large areas of North, Central and South America. There have been hundreds of sightings of cougars in Ontario over the years, and their presence here is generally acknowledged. Cougars in northern Ontario are of unknown origin, but may have moved into the province from the west, or may represent remnants of the original population. Cougars in southern Ontario are considered to be escaped pets. As such, these animals would have a wide variety of genetic backgrounds.
Threats: Human disturbance, combined with land clearing for settlement and agriculture, was responsible for the disappearance of cougars over most of northeastern North America.
Protection: The subspecies formerly classified as Eastern Cougar (Felis concolor couguar) is listed under Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007, which protects the species and its habitat.
Text Sources: van Zyll de Jong and van Ingen 1978; Gerson 1988b; Scott 1997
Last Modified Date: October 2008
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