project news

Pumas in the Costa Rican Jungle

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 17 Dec 2009


Exciting news from the field in Costa Rica!

This week two lucky Frontier-Costa Rica volunteers were fortunate enough to spot a rare puma on the beach close to the project base. This magnificent feline was spotted whilst patrolling the beach, and was first thought to be a dog walking along the shore front. However, its strong stance and agile demeanour led the volunteers to look more carefully and realise that it was in fact an adult puma!

The puma, also known as a cougar or mountain lion, is one of the largest species of cat in the world, but is not, amidst misconception, part of the Panthera genus, commonly referred to as Big Cats, but also part of the Felidae family like domestic cats.

The Puma, rarely sighted in this area, tentatively surveyed its surroundings (including the volunteers!) from afar and proceeded to casually climb the rock face. After the initial shock, the volunteers carefully followed the creature but as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared, it faded back into the shade of the shoreline forest. 

Further tracking of the animal revealed the feline paw prints embedded in the rock face’s soft sand. The paw print, as large as one of the volunteer’s hand left everyone in the team humbled and amazed by their rare and magical encounter with Costa Rica’s number one rare cat.

This rare sighting is very inspiring for the volunteers to keep studying these elusive creatures. Other indications of the species presence besides its tracks are their droppings. Indeed, even if pumas and other big cats have not been seen in a long time, it doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't there because of their solitary nature.

This latest finding has potentially large implications for the long term set up of a systematic monitoring programme of the movements of pumas and big cats within the Osa peninsula.

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