What Is Coexistence?
For as long as humans have lived in the Americas, they have lived alongside mountain lions. For much of that time, the goal has been to coexist as peacefully as possible, protecting humans and livestock in the areas they live, and allowing mountain lions to live peacefully where they live. In some times and places, that coexistence has been violent, with efforts to eradicate mountain lions entirely. In today’s United States, people who live in mountain lion country, and state wildlife agencies, are returning to the goal of peaceful coexistence. The Mountain Lion Foundation works to support and encourage those efforts.
Coexistence means recognizing that “the wild” can extend into our residential and commercial spaces, and that it is our responsibility to create safe boundaries when we build in mountain lion country.
Coexistence means we take the initiative to protect ourselves, our pets, and our livestock, as well as the native prey and habitat of lions, rather than reacting violently after a mountain lion has taken advantage of a lack of preparedness.
Coexistence makes life better for people, for the animals who depend on us, and for wildlife. It allows mountain lions to behave as they have evolved to behave. Using the same principles we might use to train domestic animals, we can teach mountain lions where they can hunt safely, and where they may not, and we use those same principles to keep livestock and pets away from areas where they are unsafe. We use our knowledge of mountain lion behavior to prevent humans’ encounters with people from becoming dangerous, which keeps humans and mountain lion’s safe.
The Mountain Lion Foundation has developed detailed guidance for how to foster peaceful coexistence in specific situations, with practical solutions for common issues. While they are not exhaustive, we will update them as new studies, tools, and approaches are developed. Please reach out to the Mountain Lion Foundation staff with questions, suggestions, or to request a more detailed discussion of your specific circumstances and concerns.
- Ranchers looking for guidance on effective deterrents, shelters, and guardian dogs can learn more from our On The Range resource page.
- Small livestock owners may find valuable guidance in the general ranching advice, but face unique challenges in preventing depredations. We have prepared additional suggestions for those with smaller numbers of livestock in our At The Homestead resource page.
- Homeowners seeking advice on keeping their yards safe can learn about wildlife-safe landscaping at the In Your Backyard resource page.
- Pet owners interested in keeping their companions safe at home and on walks can learn more at our resource page For Pet Owners.
- People concerned about hiking and other outdoor recreation in mountain lion country can find simple safety tips on our On The Trail page.
- We have additional resources for people living near livestock and agricultural operations which may attract wild carnivores as well. There is useful information about being a good neighbor to managed grazing on our Respecting Grazing Operations page.