Mountain Lion – Puma concolor
Mountain lions, as they’re commonly called in the West, are also known as cougars, pumas, and panthers. Males commonly weigh 110 – 232 pounds, while females range from 79 – 132 pounds, though Texas cats typically weigh at the lower end of the range. Very nimble climbers and great jumpers, they can leap 30 feet and can spring 15 feet vertically. Ranges for males are typically 75 – 150 square miles, though some have exceeded 700 square miles. Females, on the other hand, have a much smaller range of 24 – 50 square miles. Females’ habitats often overlap habitat of their mothers.
There are two populations of mountain lions in Texas, in west and south Texas. The west Texas population is considered stable, likely due to immigration of cats from Mexico and New Mexico; however, trapping for predator control remains the primary cause of mountain lion mortality. The south Texas population, considered unstable, is affected by human encroachment, including habitat disruption. These cats are distanced from the west Texas mountain lions and are considered a fragmented population. The number of both populations is unknown.
In Texas, they are classified as nongame animals with no protection, even though they are categorized as imperiled/vulnerable by Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Conservation Action Plan.
Texas Native Cats supports these six actions in the petition submitted by Texans for Mountain Lions, which was filed with Texas Parks and Wildlife:
- Conduct research to identify the size, status, and distribution of mountain lions in Texas.
- Require harvest reporting.
- Require 36-hour trap check times, consistent with furbearer trapping regulations.
- Limit harvest in South Texas to 5 mountain lions annually until TPWD can determine the population size and status in that area and establish sustainable hunting limits.
- Prohibit canned hunting of mountain lions (i.e., killing lions that have been restricted from movement through capture or injury and then released to be killed).
- Form a stakeholder advisory group that will collaborate with TPWD to establish a management plan for mountain lions in Texas.
For more information about plans to help our mountain lion, please visit TexansforMountainLions.org. Check out the Take Action page to learn what you can do!
Key points about mountain lions
- Second largest cat in the Americas
- Mostly widely occurring terrestrial mammal in Western Hemisphere
- Historic range covered the entire US, much of Canada, and all of South America
- Black panther is a myth
- Texas has two mountain lion populations