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The cougar (Puma concolor), also commonly known as the mountain lion, puma, panther, or catamount, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere.<ref name="diet"/> An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the second-heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar. Secretive and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although sightings during daylight hours do occur.<ref name="cougar">Cougars. US National Park Service.</ref><ref>Hansen, Kevin. (1992) Cougar: The American Lion. Northland. Flagstaff, AZ, ch. 4, ISBN 0873585445.</ref><ref>Cougar Education & Identification Course. New Mexico Department of Game & Fish</ref><ref>Living With California Mountain Lions. California Department of Game & Fish</ref> The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat (subfamily Felinae), than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae,<ref name=MSW3/><ref>Hartwell, Sarah. The Domestication of the Cat. messybeast.com</ref><ref>Small Wild Cat Species. messybeast.com</ref> of which only the jaguar is native to the Americas.

The cougar is an ambush predator and pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer, but also livestock. It also hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but in North America have been increasing in recent years as more people enter their territories.<ref name="Med"/>

Prolific hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for an isolated Florida panther subpopulation. However, in recent decades, breeding populations have moved east into the far western parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota,<ref>Shot fells elusive cougar chased out of a culvert. StarTribune.com (December 1, 2011). Retrieved on April 29, 2013.</ref> Missouri,<ref>Confirmed Mountain Lion Reports. Missouri Department of Conversation, mdc.mo.gov (March 20, 2014)</ref> Wisconsin,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> Iowa,<ref>Mountain Lion Shot Early Friday Morning in Monona County. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, iowadnr.gov (December 23, 2011)</ref><ref>Mountain lion shot by police in Monona County – KWWL.com – News & Weather for Waterloo, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, Iowa |. KWWL.com. Retrieved on April 29, 2013.</ref> the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Illinois, where a cougar was shot in the city limits of Chicago<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> and, in at least one instance, observed as far east as coastal Connecticut.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Reports of eastern cougars (P. c. cougar) still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011.<ref name="Eastern Cougar Is Declared Extinct">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>


Cougar sections
Intro  Naming and etymology  Taxonomy and evolution  Biology and behavior  Ecology  Hybrids  Conservation status  Relationships with humans  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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