The Mountain Lion, also known as the Cougar, Panther or Puma, is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. It is unspotted -- tawny-colored above overlaid with buff below. It has a small head and small, rounded, black-tipped ears. Its long tail is also black-tipped.
The puma has the widest distribution of any American mammal. They range from Canada to southern Chile and southern Argentina in all terrestrial habitats. They are typically found in remote areas where there is an abundance of deer. Extirpated from much of the eastern North America, their numbers are secure in the West. In areas of the West where a dispersed human population and high deer numbers are in proximity to a healthy lion population, this situation has sometimes resulted in human/puma interactions. These encounters are increasing, but still rare.
Like all top-level large carnivores, lions are never common. However, in the West, puma populations are secure. In some western states, not California, they are a legally hunted animal. In the East, lions were extirpated many years ago, except for the endangered Florida panther.
Source: DesertUSa and The Living Desert
Photograph taken at "The Living Desert" in Palm Desert, California.