Apr 7, 2024
New Resource Available: Essential Guide to Recent Scientific Research on Mountain Lions

Cougar attacks on people are incredibly rare, and when they do happen, they tend to make headlines across the country. Two recent and deeply tragic incidents, one in Washington state and one in California, generated both a flurry of media coverage and a flurry of important questions: Are lion populations increasing? What tools will help with managing mountain lion conflicts? Does mountain lion hunting make attacks more likely?  

Cover of guide to research

With questions like these in mind, the Mountain Lion Foundation has created a new and helpful publication, the Essential Guide to Recent Scientific Research on Mountain Lions. In it, you’ll find straightforward, plain-language answers to some of the most commonly asked scientific questions about mountain lions, backed up by extensive citations from recent scientific research. In creating this new resource, we relied on published, peer-reviewed studies, and if you’re interested in digging deeper, we provided links to those studies so that you can read them for yourself. We also reached out to some of today’s most well-respected cougar scientists to get their feedback on early drafts of this document, to make sure we’re getting our facts right.  

Here at the Mountain Lion Foundation, we’re often the first ones that journalists call when an attack happens. Even in calmer times, we get calls almost every day from our members, from reporters, and from high-level decision-makers, asking us these and other questions about mountain lions: Is hunting a necessary tool to manage mountain lion populations? Are mountain lions returning to their eastern range? What about Chronic Wasting Disease? A big part of our work is serving as a clearinghouse for the best information about mountain lions, and with this publication, we’re able to provide all of these diverse communities with a handy, concise reference that not only shares answers using the best available science, but also debunks some common (and frustratingly persistent!) myths about mountain lions.  

Fascinating new research studies that focus on cougar biology, behavior, social structure, ecology, and more are happening all the time. As new scientific reports are published, we’ll be updating this Guide regularly to reflect that new information. It’s an exciting time for mountain lion science! New lines of research have been made possible by new technologies, and in some cases, longstanding beliefs about the species are being questioned and explored, leading to surprising new discoveries.  

Check out the Mountain Lion Foundation’s new Essential Guide to Recent Scientific Research on Mountain Lions — and tell us what you think! Email us at info@mountainlion.org.  

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