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Cougar in Crisis - Endangered

BY DIONNE LISTER

I am a cat lover and the bigger, the better. It is a sad fact that many of the world’s large cats are endangered, and today I’ll be talking about the cougar. While researching this subject I found it a little wrong that my Google search for ‘cougars’ turned up links to stories about older women dating younger men – not what I wanted to know about. I changed my search to ‘cougars endangered’ and, surprisingly, nothing about the women, but more about the four-pawed variety.

Cougars are native to Asia, America and Africa and they look like big pussy cats, growing to around 2-2.5 metres high and weighing between 50-110 kg - imagine that sitting on your lap! They have tawny to dark brown coloured fur, piercing eyes and big floppy paws (sorry I’m getting carried away, I find them irresistible). They are carnivores, of course, and very adaptable, so live in climates from snow-covered mountains to rainforests. If they can live anywhere why are they endangered? The biggest threat to these big cats, and I’m sure you’ve guessed it already, is humans.

They are situated in many states in America and are also known as mountain lions, pumas and carcajou, among other things, with approximately 40 English names for this amazing animal. They are protected in some American states, while in some states hunting is legal but regulated, and in Texas they are classified as a pest and can be killed any way you choose (that makes me angry). The other major threat to their existence is loss of habitat through urban sprawl.

With an estimated 50,000 cougars left in the world, time for making sure they survive is rapidly passing. It is time to act before we lose another irreplaceable creature. Of course donations will help studies and implementation of programs designed to save this animal with two great organisations undertaking this work being Panthera  and The Cougar Fund. If you are a big cat lover show you care by doing what you can now.

What do you think?


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