National Geographic published a fantastic feature on urban pumas in their December issue. The article includes an interactive map of pumas around Los Angeles, as well as a stunning photo of an adult male puma walking through the hills of Griffith Park – a spot that many people visit every day.
With over 38 million people living in California (the majority of whom live in puma habitat), the photos from this article are a great reminder of how little conflict there is between humans and pumas. All too often, we only hear about large carnivores when something has gone wrong – a young cat is deemed a safety threat and is shot after it wanders into an urban area, the extremely rare event in which a person is attacked, etc. We don’t hear about the times when we walk past a puma sleeping under a tree and never even know it was there. It’s refreshing to see an article that shows the public what we see as researchers – beautiful animals that are an important part of our shared environment.