Cougars and Climate

In the midst of human caused climate change and the sixth great extinction, we can no longer shut our eyes or run away from the problems our natural world is experiencing. From wildfires and droughts to hurricanes and sea level rise, climate change is already affecting people everywhere and changing the ecosystems that support all life on the planet. Whether or not you have experienced climate change first hand, we are all going to feel its effects eventually, and the decisions we make today will be lived by our youth in the years to come.

Some species are well suited to help us fight climate change, and the mountain lion is one such species. Mountain lions are one of the best examples of an ecological engineer, meaning they help keep entire ecosystems functioning properly. Lions reduce the time deer and elk spend browsing along streams, which helps protect our waterways from both droughts and flooding. Furthermore, mountain lions’ cached kills provide food sources for countless wildlife species, helping maintain biodiversity and keeping ecosystems intact and resilient to change.

Saving America’s Lion offers us hope. It is our belief that hope is not just something you have, but is also something you do. By learning about the challenges mountain lions face in our changing world, we can better protect the species so they can continue to perform their essential roles in ecosystems. Navigate the tabs and story map below to learn more.



Mountain Lions in an Era of Rapid Climate and Land-use Change – Learn how mountain lions are responding to drought and its related impact on the availability of deer and other prey species. Dr. David Stoner, an Assistant Professor from Utah State University, explains some of the challenges lions are facing and their implications for human-lion conflict.

More webinars on cougars and climate will be coming soon. Stay tuned!



Introducing Mountain Lion Foundation’s Climate Change Program– Introduction to MLF’s climate change program and why we are working on this important topic.

More videos on cougars and climate will be coming soon. Stay tuned!



Ross, S. R. J., Garcia Molinos, J., Okuda, A., Johnstone, J., Atsumi, K., Futamura, R., & Donohue, I. (2022). Predators mitigate the destabilising effects of heatwaves on multitrophic stream communities. Global Change Biology.

Stoner, D. C., Sexton, J. O., Choate, D. M., Nagol, J., Bernales, H. H., Sims, S. A., & Edwards Jr, T. C. (2018). Climatically driven changes in primary production propagate through trophic levels. Global Change Biology, 24(10), 4453-4463.

Stoner, D. C., Ditmer, M. A., Mitchell, D. L., Young, J. K., & Wolfe, M. L. (2021). Conflict, coexistence, or both? Cougar habitat selection, prey composition, and mortality in a multiple-use landscape. California Fish and Wildlife, 107(3):147-172; 2021

Zanin, M., Palomares, F., & Albernaz, A. L. M. (2021). Effects of climate change on the distribution of felids: mapping biogeographic patterns and establishing conservation priorities. Biodiversity and Conservation, 30(5), 1375-1394.

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Predator species help to buffer climate change impacts on biodiversity

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