Cougar: here’s the scoop


Though cougars are a top predator, humans are their biggest threat. Their populations are becoming increasingly fragmented due to human activity and they are losing genetic diversity among their species.

Committed to Conservation

The Buttonwood Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Cougars. Instead of focusing on breeding and genetic diversity, the Cougar SSP manages the placement of rescued and rehabilitated cougars that cannot return to the wild.



Scientific name

Puma concolor


This species is found in a broad range of habitats, in all forest types, as well as lowland and montane desert. Several studies have shown that habitat with dense understory vegetation is preferred, however, cougars can live in very open habitats with only minimum cover.


Carnivorous. In North America, deer make up 60-80% of the cougar’s diet. In tropical portions of their range, cougars are capable of taking large prey, but when available small to medium-sized prey are more important in their diet.


18 – 20 years

Did you know?

Cougars are the largest wild cats in North America. They may also be called panthers, mountain lions, pumas or catamounts. The same cat is called many different names because of its large range.


Canada through the United States, Central and South America to the southern tip of Chile. While the cougar is an adaptable cat, being found in every major habitat type of the Americas, including the high Andes, it was eliminated from the entire eastern half of North America within 200 years following European colonization.

Conservation status

Least Concern

Widespread and abundant