The puma on show at the Parc Zoologique de Paris is the Puma concolor puma, originally from Chile. Scientists still know little about this sub-species of puma: very few studies have been carried out on the size of its population, its range, its health and genetic status.
The puma plays an extremely important role in its ecosystem as it is the "apex" predator, at the top of the food chain. Any change in its situation therefore has a large impact on its entire environment, including certain endangered species.
Furthermore, pumas and men are increasingly coming into contact with each other, near where sheep, llamas, vicunas and guanacos are reared and co-existence between wildlife and human activity is sometimes problematic. It results in the Chilean inhabitants setting traps and capturing wild pumas, which can then no longer be released back into their natural environment.
The Parc Zoologique de Paris PUMA project, run in partnership with the Chilean NGO Fauna Australis, is unique in the world. Its aim is the study and conservation of Puma concolor puma, via 3 actions:
- the study of the population in the wild: genetic sampling, assessment of the pumas’ health status in their natural environment, an information campaign for Chilean farmers on the ways that farming and pumas can co-exist
- the study of the captive population of pumas in Chile: the conducting of a health and zootechnical assessment of captive pumas in rehabilitation centres, technical and veterinary assistance with the different local players
- the conservation of the genetic inheritance of the sub-species at the Parc Zoologique de Paris: transfer of a few captive individuals which cannot be reintroduced into their environment, establishment of a population at the Parc Zoologique de Paris to preserve a pure genetic heritage
Thanks to your support in sponsoring the puma, veterinary equipment has been acquired, treatment given to the animals and captive pumas which cannot be reintroduced into their environment have been given a home at the Parc Zoologique de Paris.