Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota

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Animals - Northern Territory

Cougar - Max
Puma concolor
Range: Presently from the Rocky Mountains west in the U.S. and Canada and south throughout Central and South America. There is also a breeding population in Wisconsin and Florida.
Habitat: Adaptable to various climates due to its broad range; north woods, mountains, tropical rainforest, and the pampas in South America.
Diet: Moose, elk, deer, caribou, rabbits, striped skunks, muskrats, porcupines and other small mammals. At the zoo they eat 4-5 lbs. of meat a day.
Fun Facts:
  • Due to its wide range, it has many different common names such as mountain lion, puma, panther and catamount.
  • They are considered a small cat because they cannot roar like a large cat.
  • Cougars are excellent jumpers and can leap 18-20 feet high from a near standstill and have been seen to drop to the ground from a height of 60 feet.
  • They are very strong and have been known to drag a carcass 3 times its own weight.
  • There are one to six cubs are born in a den. Their eyes are open at 7-14 days and they remain with the mother until about 2 years old.
  • The life span is about 18-20 years.
  • Man is the principle enemy and is responsible for their disappearance over much of its range.

Max, a 12-year-old cougar, inhabits the exhibit formally occupied by the zoo’s 19-year-old cougar, Diamond.

Max came from a private home and was placed at the zoo with the assistance of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN. Sanctuary CEO, Tammy Thies, said the Wildcat Sanctuary received a call from an owner in northern Iowa who had to surrender Max due to personal circumstances. The owner was looking for a home where she could continue to visit Max to see how he was doing and she was hoping for a facility within a few states. 

Thies said she was a pleased to see Max placed in a permanent home at the zoo. “We are always happy to have a credible zoo step forward to rescue a former wild pet in need,” she said.  “It can truly be a win-win for the animal and the zoo.”

Thies said there were too many wild homeless pets for sanctuaries to absorb. “We do our best to place as many animals through accredited sanctuaries as possible,” she said. “That can't always happen, especially when the owner has special parameters for placement. We are so thankful to the Lake Superior Zoo for taking in Max and being a wonderful example of how credible zoos can help former wild pets.”

The zoo’s Director of Animal Management, Peter Pruett, said while Max was receiving excellent care from his previous owner, he would settle in quite well at his new home.“We have a great exhibit for him where he will have lowlands, water, climbing opportunities and where he can sleep in the sun,” Pruett said. “Max is a personable and exceptionally beautiful cat and he will receive excellent care at the Lake Superior Zoo.”

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