• Common name: Cougar
  • Scientific name: Puma concolor
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae

Also known as

Mountain Lion, Lion, Puma, Catamount, Panther

Viewing opportunities

  • Cougars are the ghosts of the forest and very few have ever been spotted in the Yukon.
  • Best chance to see a Cougar is in the southern Yukon near the BC border, or near the Braeburn Elk herd.
  • If you see what you think is a Cougar, look for a long tail with a black tip. If the tail is absent you are likely looking at a lynx, not a Cougar.


  • Large cat body; overall golden colour.
  • Round head and ears erect.
  • Large paws and proportionally large hind legs.
  • Long black-tipped tail and long body.
  • Not to be confused with the lynx who has brown-grey fur and a very short tail.

Fast facts

  • Length: 2 m
  • Weight: 75 kg
  • Lifespan: 18 to 20 years
  • Predators: Humans
  • Habitat: Boreal Forest

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: SU (Unrankable)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


Cougars are solitary cats and the ghosts of the forest. They move silently through densely wooded areas, ambushing prey from above. They are most active at dawn and dusk. Cougars are known to take down large prey then carry it into a tree away from scavengers and competitors. They are impressive climbers with powerful legs for jumping and running.


Deer, Mountain Goats, Mountain Sheep, Elk, hares, porcupines and beavers.


Cougar distribution map.

Sights and sounds

Cougar track, front.
Cougar track, front: 8.8 x 9.0 cm.

Cougars and people

  • Cougars have only begun to move as far north as the Yukon, likely following the deer populations that are slowly moving north.
  • With expanding human population, Cougar range in North America is increasingly encroached by humans. However, attacks on humans are very rare, as Cougar prey recognition is a learned behaviour, and they do not generally recognize humans as prey.