On December 24, a healthy male Cougar was born at Zoo Salzburg in Austria! Cougars may have a litter of up to six cubs, but typically give birth to two. This time, a single cub was born and mom, 14-year-old Winnie, devotes all her care to this little one.
Cougar cubs are born after a gestation period of about three months. Cubs are born with their eyes closed and weigh slightly less than one pound (about 400 grams). Within ten days, the cubs open their bright blue eyes. This startling eye color, along with their spotted baby-coats, changes by around six months of age. Depending on the cat's habitat, their fur may range in color from silver-gray to reddish-brown.
Cougars, also known as Mountain Lions, Pumas, Panthers, or Catamounts, are native to the Americas. The Cougar is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of 'Least Concern'. This is because they are found widely across North and South America, from Canada through the southern tip of Chile. However, it is considered as a species in decline, and some populations have been drastically reduced or extirpated (meaning extinct in a particular region where they used to live).
Like most cats, Cougars are solitary creatures. Depending on the type of habitat, they may require very large home ranges for successful hunting. This makes them vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as to the decline of prey animals. Because they may resort to taking livestock, they also face persecution by humans.