Conservation Status: Least Concern
Habitat: The Americas
Cougars - also commonly known as pumas, mountain lions, catamounts, Florida panthers, and many more names - are the second largest cat in the New World (after the Jaguar). It's habitat ranges from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America (hence all the different names). Once there were cougars in nearly every part of the United States, but hunters, farmers, and ranchers eliminated them from nearly all of their range in the Midwestern and Eastern parts of the country - except for an isolated population of cougars in Florida.
Cougars are ambush hunters and generalist predators, meaning they will eat almost anything they can catch. Cougars are also a keystone species, meaning they have an incredible amount of impact on their environment. They play a critical role in maintaining the structure and health of their ecosystem. Like a keystone in an arch, if it is removed, the rest of the arch collapses.
They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans. While they do occasionally attack people—usually children or solitary adults—statistics show that, on average, there are only four cougar attacks and one human fatality each year in all of the U.S. and Canada.