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The Puma

The puma is the largest feline that we can find in Chile, and after the jaguar, it is the second largest in America. Its extensive distribution, which spans a total of 28 countries, from the cold forests of northern Canada to the extensive pampas of Patagonia, in the Strait of Magellan, makes it the most widely distributed land mammal in the world. Forests, coasts, deserts, mountains and prairies are just a few of the many ecosystems in which this resilient animal has managed to survive. Its large size (it can weigh more than 100 kilos), incredible strength and agility make it an efficient hunter, being able to feed on prey that is even double or triple in size.

Foto: Pia Vergara @piavergarafotografia

Even though during their adult life Pumas are mostly solitary animals, it is possible to observe some interactions associated with feeding events, in addition to territorial disputes and courtship during reproductive times. In Pumas, it is the female who is in charge of the hard task of raising the cubs, which can be between 1 and 4 at a time, and after being fed and taught by their mother, they achieve independence on average when they are between one year and one year and a half old.

Regarding its conservation status, the Puma is classified as "Low Concern" both by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and by the Species Classification Regulation (RCE) of the Ministry of the Environment in Chile.

Foto: Pia Vergara @piavergarafotografia

The word Puma comes from Quechua (a native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a common ancestral language), which means "powerful animal", being a feline revered in various cultures throughout its entire distribution. Despite the above, life has not been easy for this majestic feline. This feline has been hunted and hunted for over a century due to the conflict with livestock. This has led to dozens of Pumas being hunted in retaliation for the loss of livestock, decimating their population in various parts of both Chile and the world, this being one of the main threats to their conservation. In Patagonia, the situation has not been different, and there are still several dozen Pumas that continue to be hunted both legally and illegally for their interaction with livestock.

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