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Endangered Species Wednesday: Cougars

Last week we covered manatees, and this week we've got cougars.  The word cougar has been sort of tainted with its new slang meaning, so forget about Courteney Cox and Cougartown...these big cats, also known as pumas, panthers, and mountain lions, have made a bit of a recovery, but they still need our help.

Did you know?

Cougars are closely related to house cats.  They don't roar, but they do purr!  Awww!  

How many cougars are left?

It's hard to tell.  Some sources say there's no way to really know, but I've also read that there are still about 30,000 cougars left.  In spite of that seemingly large number, many of the subspecies are critically endangered, such as the North American cougar, which scientists believe that there are only about 50 left.  The Florida Panther was listed as critically endangered in previous years, but due to recovery efforts it hasn't been listed since 2008.  

In Captivity: 

Very common at zoos.   

Why are cougars endangered?

Some people trap, poison, or shoot cougars because they see them as a nuisance.  However, cougars have an important place in our eco-system, so by killing cougars, they won't be able to prey on deer which can cause deer to get too large for their habitats.  Cougar habitats are also getting smaller.  

How can I help?

Support the Texas Mountain Lion Conservation Project or visit the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Learn more about these big cats at the Sierra Club.