Mountain Lion

The mountain lion is listed as “imperiled” under the state’s Texas Conservation Action Plan, but is considered a non-game animal, without hunting seasons, bag limits, harvest reports, or extensive monitoring. Its role as a predator of endangered desert bighorn sheep makes the panther’s protection, always controversial, yet more complicated.


Narrator: Melanie AndersonTitle: An Animal with a LifeDuration: 00:03:23Date: April 22, 2021Melanie Anderson has served as a grantmaker in the animal protection program at the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas since 1989. She and the Foundation focus their support on understanding and protecting bobcats, coyotes, black bears and mountain lions. Here she discusses the effort to connect, and perhaps reconcile, hunters with the radio-collared mountain lions that they have killed.Narrator: Lynn CunyTitle: Money and PetsDuration: 00:02:10Date: March 29, 2021Lynn Cuny is the founder and president of Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, a non-profit in the San Antonio area that provides rescue, rehabilitation, and release to orphaned, injured or displaced wildlife, including mountain lions. Here she describes the highly profitable trade in cougars as "pets", a practice that she has seen since starting her facility in 1977.Narrator: Lynn CunyTitle: An Innate Hatred?Duration: 00:03:49Date: March 29, 2021Lynn Cuny is the founder and president of Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, a non-profit in the San Antonio area that provides rescue, rehabilitation, and release to orphaned, injured or displaced wildlife, including mountain lions. Here she puzzles over West Texas landowners' resistance to enacting game status for cougars, and for their general animosity towards the predator. She is unsure why these attitudes have not softened, even as stock ownership has declined and compensation has been offered to ranchers for any losses.Narrator: Mark ElbrochTitle: Ecosystem ImpactsDuration: 00:02:33Date: February 26, 2023Mark Elbroch is an ecologist, writer, tracker, and puma program director for the non-profit Panthera. Here, he marvels at the benefits that a mountain lion provides for its ecosystem through the nutrient and energy flows that ripple out from the carrion that they leave behind, affecting birds, mammals, and soil.Narrator: Mark ElbrochTitle: TrappingDuration: 00:02:28Date: February 25, 2023Trained as an ecologist, Mark Elbroch serves as director of the puma program at the global NGO, Panthera. Here he explains that Texas is unique among the states in permitting trapping of mountain lions, without even imposing any reporting requirement. He sees this as being so unmanaged and non-targetted as to be indefensible in any scientific manner.Narrator: Mark ElbrochTitle: CountingDuration: 00:03:26Date: February 25, 2023Mark Elbroch is an ecologist, tracker and director of the puma program at the non-profit, Panthera. Here he explains the challenges of monitoring mountain lions, given their stealth, mobility, and rarity. He stresses the importance of doing such counts, given the emphasis on calculating maximum sustainable yields, estimates that rely on having accurate censuses. He points out that Texas has failed to perform such surveys, at least at scale.Narrator: Pam HarteTitle: Canned HuntsDuration: 00:01:58Date: October 11, 2022Pam Harte works as a Davis Mountains rancher, a wildlife advocate, a documentary film producer, and other roles. She has been particularly concerned about mountain lions, and here discusses the ethics, regulation, and meaning of canned lion hunts in Texas.Narrator: Louis HarvesonTitle: The Politics of PredatorsDuration: 00:03:07Date: March 4, 2021Louis Harveson, Ph.D., is a wildlife biologist, a professor at Sul Ross State University, and the founder and director of the Borderlands Research Institute. Here he discusses the changing situation in west Texas for the mountain lion, as the number of trappers operating in the area trails off, as absentee landowners bring in more tolerant attitudes, and as livestock operators learn methods to co-exist with panthers.Narrator: Roy McBrideTitle: Texas to FloridaDuration: 00:03:18Date: October 12, 2022Roy McBride tracked and trapped mountain lions, jaguars, gray and red wolves and other predators for many years. Here he tells the story of capturing mountain lions in Texas to release in Florida, where the local panthers were suffering from inbreeding.Narrator: Billy Pat McKinneyTitle: Lions, Sheep, Goats, and DeerDuration: 00:01:39Date: April 5, 2001Billy Pat McKinney worked as a biologist in the Trans Pecos for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Here, he explains past efforts to track and kill mountain lions to protect the sheep and goat industry, and how the decline of the livestock business in West Texas has allowed the lion population to rebuild.Narrator: Monica MorrisonTitle: LaurenDuration: 00:02:28Date: October 20, 2022Based in the Dallas area, Monica Morrison is a long-time volunteer in wildlife education and protection. She has been especially interested in conservation of the state's wild cats, having started the NGO, Texas Native Cats, and participated in the partnership, Texans for Mountain Lions. Here she talks about what drives and inspires her work to conserve and restore the panther in Texas.Narrator: Marcos ParedesTitle: Mountain Islands and Young ThugsDuration: 00:04:51Date: April 3, 2001Marcos Paredes is the former federal District Ranger responsible for the 245-mile reach of the Rio Grande where it flows along the southern boundary of Big Bend National Park. Here, he tells about studies of mountain lion predation and rare, but admittedly violent, conflicts with human visitors in the Park.Narrator: Scott RoyderTitle: Domination vs. PartnershipDuration: 00:03:14Date: December 3, 2021Scott Royder is a grassroots activist, events coordinator, and legislative lobbyist. During his tenure in the 1980s and '90s as Conservation Director for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, he worked on protecting the mountain lion in Texas. Here he describes his view of the origins of the powerful hostility towards the cougar. He traces it back to a mentality of domination rooted in the Doctrine of Discovery written more than 500 years ago.