Pumas, also known as mountain lions or cougars, have an ability to assess their surrounding terrain and accordingly use a suitable walking gait to conserve energy, a new study has shown.
- The cats travel more slowly while ascending or descending mountains to conserve energy, the new study conducted by Queen’s University in Belfast, UK,has found.
- This, a press statement by the university said, was important as many top predators were having to move into what it termed ‘energetically challenging environments’ as the areas they usually inhabited were being occupied by humans.
- The areas that these animals move into, force them to use more energy and cause declines in their populations.
- The puma is the top feline predator in the Americas, along with the jaguar. However, its native range is diminishing due to increasing agriculture and urbanisation. Puma habitat in California is predicted to diminish 35 per cent by 2030. Road collisions, fires and poaching of their wild prey are other threats.
- As a result, the animals are being forced to move into ‘the steepest and most energetically costly mountainous parts of their range’, the statement by Queen’s University, said.