The geographic range of this powerful ambush big cat predator is simply vast. They are found as far north as southern Alaska and as far south as the tip of Chile. That means they are found in an astonishing 28 countries and their given name changes as you move from place to place. They are known as the mountain lion, cougar, panther, catamount and puma. They survive in many types of habitat, including forests, high mountains, deserts – and even urban jungles.

This powerfully built cat can weigh up to 80kg with a maximum total length of 1.7M and its diet consists mainly of herbivores, such as deer, moose and livestock; although their actual diet across their geographical range is quite varied and can include insects and small mammals. They can live to 16 years old in the wild and recent research has shown that they are more sociable than previously documented. They thrive in areas with large deer populations, like Vancouver Island, although they are rarely seen by humans.

In some parts of their range, sheep and other livestock can be a big part of their prey base and this inevitably leads to conflict. In the United States, pumas are primarily threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, but they face numerous other challenges, including legal killing, road mortality, and disease.

In some parts of the world local ranchers have changed from hunting the Pumas to embracing the high value wildlife tourism that has been so successful for one of its big cat relatives in Brazil, the Jaguar. There are now some amazing Puma tours close to Torres del Paine national park and Wildlife Trails has teamed up with an expert local guide to bring you our small group Puma photography tour in Chile.