Photo of Fayette Station Bridge in West Virginia.


Help ensure a future for mountain lions in West Virginia.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of West Virginia, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to West Virginia.

Although mountain lions may be physically capable of living in an area, human activities and attitudes could keep them from reestablishing a population there. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out mountain lions from any area. For more data on
                  habitat use, check out our various Science tabs.

  • Return to the portal page for West Virginia.

  • The status of Puma concolor in West Virginia.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in West Virginia.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in West Virginia.

  • Cougar science and research in West Virginia.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

West Virginia Lion Habitat and Population

Before European settlement, mountain lions roamed throughout West Virginia and beyond. Perceived conflict with livestock, heavy hunting pressure, conversion of wildlands to agriculture and other forms of habitat loss drove the mountain lions of West Virginia to local extinction.

West Virginia Cougar Habitat
Photo of ~insert photo description here~.

Click on map to enlarge.

There hasn't been much, if any, research specifically addressing potential habitat for mountain lions in the state, but there has been work looking at the importance of potential dispersal corridors across the U.S. A study by Michelle LaRue (2007) estimates that there are 128,608 square kilometers of highly suitable habitat across the Midwest. Additional habitat certainly exists throughout the South and East Coast as well. A viable population in West Virginia would help provide potential dispersing individuals to help repopulate neighboring states where mountain lions once thrived.

Establishing mountain lion-friendly legislation and management practices will likely need to play a role in allowing this top carnivore to return to the great state of West Virginia. Check out our Action Tab to see what you can do to help!

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: WVDNR

Steven McDaniel, Director of Wildlife Resources

Division of Natural Resources
Building 74
324 Fourth Ave
South Charleston, WV 25303
(304) 558-2771

Bear Biologist
Colin Carpenter
(304) 256-6947

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in WV.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.