From the cold moors to the warm lands, from North American countries to Argentina, the puma makes its home throughout the continent and also inhabits the forests of Antioquia and Colombia.
This feline, the second largest in the American continent, is being studied in the region by Juan David Sánchez Londoño, professor and researcher at the Faculty of Sciences and Biotechnology of the CES University, and Esteban Restrepo Cortes, a student of the Biology program, who They undertook the task of consolidating the work of seven years of observations and records of this animal in an investigation that seeks to determine issues such as its diet and its activity patterns in the department.
“There are very few studies that describe its activity pattern and there are only 3 studies that investigate the diet of the puma in Colombia. This would be the first investigation that would consolidate data on monitoring of the species specifically in Antioquia”, Explained the teacher.
His work focuses on three areas visited throughout his field work: the forests surrounding the Aburrá Valley, the northern highlands (Santa Rosa de Osos, Yarumal) and the Magdalena Medio. Zones ranging from the cold climate at 2,220 meters above sea level to the warm riverside forests.
The visits that the researchers have made are focused on reviewing photographs taken by camera traps, tracking the presence of pumas and collecting material such as excreta to be analyzed and determine the diet they have.
“For example, we have found that the cougar can adapt to heavily intervened areas and that it is consuming very small prey, the size of an armadillo or a rabbit, when its diet is expected to be centered on animals that are the size of a deer”Added Sánchez Londoño.
For Esteban Restrepo, the search for the puma is fascinating, because, although they have not been able to see it in person, they do feel that every time they find an excrement or the marks of their claws on a tree, they are being observed by the feline that controls their territory.
“We find that the puma is a generalist animal, which adapts to what there is to eat. We have evidenced differences between their diet here in Antioquia that differ a lot from other places, for example, among the animals they eat there are a lot of armadillos, two-clawed sloths and even hedgehogs, because we find spines of these animals in the excreta”, Highlighted the student from his experience in the field.
The researchers pointed out that, although the puma is not at any of the species' risk of extinction levels, there are areas in which its population has been severely decimated, so it is important to determine changes that may indicate a decrease or a transformation in their behavior and warning of the risk.