Imposing and feared by humans, even though it does not usually attack them, the Andean puma is one of the few mammals that can adapt to almost any ecosystem, especially in areas of dense vegetation, as this allows it to go unnoticed by its potential prey.
Also known as the Andean lion or puma concolor (scientific name), it is the second largest feline in the Americas and the fourth in the world, after the lion, tiger and jaguar. It is characterized by being agile, elusive, silent and strong, usually avoiding confrontations with other animals and/or people. Males can weigh up to 220 pounds, while females can weigh up to 140 pounds.
The puma owes its different names to the different habitats in which it lives; it can be found in mountainous deserts, forests, wetlands, plains, and even on snow-capped mountains at an altitude of almost 16,400 feet, where paw prints have been found. It can be found from Canada to the end of the Andes Mountains, where it has been most successful in terms of survival.
South America is where the most subspecies of puma can be found. There is the puma concolor concolor or Northern South American puma, which lives in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina; the puma concolor cabrerae or Argentinian puma, is found in Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina; the puma concolor anthonyi or Eastern South American puma, can be seen in Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay; and the puma concolor puma or Southern South American puma, a subspecies found in Chile and Argentina, which can withstand the lowest temperatures.
Did you know?
The Andean puma can jump distances of up to 20 feet and up to 33 feet high, owing to its large hind legs.
This animal does not roar, but it makes a sound very similar to a purr. Its front paws have 5 toes each, while its hind paws have only 4 toes each.
Newborn pumas are blind and have spots on their fur, which disappear when they reach adulthood.
The Andean puma is categorized as "Near Threatened" according to Supreme Decree D.S. N. 004-2014-MINAGRI. It is also included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Unauthorized hunting and capture of this animal is an offense punishable by a fine of no less than S/ 41,500 and criminal prosecution with a prison sentence.
Sources: Serfor/ RPP/ Diario Chaski/ peruecologico.com / Expertoanimal.com