Pumas are not Competing with Human Hunters for ‘Trophy’ Animals

The Jaguar

Mountain Lion (aka Puma) by Jitze Couperus. CC BY 2.0

A recent blog post by Dr. Mark Elbroch of Panthera’s Puma Program brings up an important issue. As Dr. Elbroch states, there is an old and pervasive belief that large predators compete with human hunters for antlered deer and elk. This is one of the many factors that has led to the persecution of animals like pumas (mountain lions, cougars, Puma concolor, etc.). However, a 2017 study by Dr. Elbroch and his colleagues calls this belief into question.

In this study, as well as in his blog post, Dr. Elbroch explains that trophy hunters prefer to target large male elk and deer. These individuals have large antlers, and are therefore more impressive than the rest. There is a financial demand for large, antlered ungulates that encourages game agencies to remove any factor that might decrease their abundance –including large predators.

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