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Tiger, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve

Cougar

CougarNext to the bears, this is the largest, most powerful Canadian predator. Once numerous from the Atlantic to the Pacific, habitat destruction has reduced much of its range. The cougar has the greatest natural distribution of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere except for man.

Zoological name: Felis concolor

Distribution: Western North America from British Columbia and south Alberta south through west Wyoming to California and west Texas. Also south Texas, Louisiana, south Alabama, Tennessee, and peninsular Florida.

Physical appearance: Cougars have a reddish-brown to gray fur with light throat and under parts depending on where it lives, in dry areas it is likely to be brown. It's more reddish in tropical areas and usually gray in the north. They also have longer fur in the colder areas and shorter fur in warmer climates. The very end of it's tail is black.

Reproduction and Offspring: There is no fixed mating season, but in North America, the majority of births occur between late winter and early spring. Females tend to reproduce every other year, and give birth to litters of 1 ? 6 (usually 2-3) kittens after a gestation of 90-96 days. Mothers give birth to their young in dens that are lined with moss or vegetation, usually in rock shelters, crevices, piles of rocks, thickets, caves, or some other protected place. Kittens weigh approximately 7-16 ounces at birth, and have spotted coats until they are around 6 months old.

Hunting and Diet: Cougars primarily feed on large mammals, preferring deer, but they will also eat Coyotes, Porcupines, Beaver, mice marmots, hares, raccoons, birds and even grasshoppers. They kill by stalking to within 30 feet of their prey before pouncing from its hiding place. It leaps onto its victim?s back and bites into the neck and holds with its sharp claws.

Cougar Principal Threats: According to 2001 statistics provided from actual sales of hunting permits, almost 2100 cougars are still being killed each year. This figure does not include all the cougars killed by hunters who do not buy licenses nor report their kills. Less than 6% of our population are hunters but they kill over 100 million animals each year for sport.

Status: CITES: Appendix I, USDI: Endangered

Life span: 12 years

Know more about Cougar!
The first record of this species dates back to 1840-50 when John Oliver reported that he heard of two "panthers" being killed in Cades Cove. In 1859, Buckley noted that the "panther" was troublesome to the mountain farmers of North Carolina and Tennessee, destroying their sheep and hogs.

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