The puma (Puma concolor)
is a type of large cat found in North, Central and South America.
It is also known by the regional names of cougar, mountain lion,
panther, catamount, and painted cat. At least in the US, panther
by itself refers to a puma, although the term black panther is
more commonly associated with the melanistic variants of leopards
or jaguars rather than pumas. Genetically, pumas are closer to
leopards than to lions. There is considerable variation in colour
and size of these animals across their large range of habitats.
The Florida panther is a rare subspecies of puma that lives in
the swamps of southern Florida in the United States, especially
in the Everglades. There is currently a widespread effort in Florida
to try to save the remaining population of the state's native
panthers, as their numbers are extremely sparse. Before the modern
human population explosion in the Americas, despite being called
a "mountain lion", the puma ranged across most of the
Americas. Even now, it has the biggest range of any New World
land animal, spanning 110 degrees of latitude, from northern British
Columbia (in Canada) to the southern Andes (on both the Chilean
and Argentinian sides). Hunted almost to extinction in the United
States, the puma has made a dramatic comeback, with an estimated
30,000 individuals in the western United States. In Canada, puma
are found west of the prairies, in Alberta and British Columbia.
Above Images Are From The US Fish & Wildlife Service