Common name: Mountain Lion, Cougar, Puma, Panther, Catamount, Painter. Scientific name: Puma concolor.
Mountain Lions are a native species of Texas and an important selective (influential and effective) force on prey populations, such as deer, feral hogs, javelina and rabbits, as well as on other carnivores such as coyotes and bobcats.
Scientific studies conducted in Texas on Mountain Lions show that (1) the cats are experiencing low survivorship mainly due to predator control and hunting practices, (2) a high percentage of female Mountain Lions is being killed, a fact indicating that the population is being harvested at an unsustainable level (more lions are being killed than survive), and (3) due to killing practices, Mountain Lions exhibit a skewed age group (population mainly composed of younger individuals), an unhealthy situation for a wild (or any) animal population.
Despite these data, Mountain Lions are classified as non-game, unprotected species. No current regulations exist to monitor the status of the population in Texas and no restrictions are placed on the number, the sex or the age of Mountain Lions killed.
In July 2009, Balanced Ecology Inc. launched the Texas Mountain Lion Conservation Project with the following goals:
- Educating the public regarding the importance of Mountain Lions, their ecology, and their status in Texas.
- Working with private individuals, organizations, and other stakeholders interested in the conservation of Mountain Lions in Texas.
- Achieving a solution where man and cat can coexist by identifying feasible solutions for such coexistence.
Balanced Ecology Inc.’s biologists, staff and volunteers believe that by working directly with landowners in western Texas and educating the public regarding the importance of Mountain Lions as well as their contribution to the stability of ecosystems including farming and ranching practices, Texas can maintain a healthy and stable population of Mountain Lions while protecting landowners’ livelihood.