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Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Alaska.

Alaska is mostly too far north and outside of mountain lion distribution. As such, there isn't much of a resident population aside from a few cats that live in the southeastern edge of the state adjacent to populations living in Britis Columbia.

Climate change may be increasing the habitat available to mountain lions, only time will tell.

  • Return to the portal page for Alaska.

  • The status of puma concolor in Alaska.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Alaska.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Alaska.

  • Cougar science and research in Alaska.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Alaska Lion Habitat and Population

Alaska is north of mountain lions distribution for the most part, and cougars are rare in neighboring northern British Columbia. In southern B.C., biologists estimate the population to be about 3,500 individuals. Some of these cats may disperse to the north and to Alaska, but the likelihood of there being a breeding population within the state is very low.

Alaska Cougar Habitat
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Click on map to enlarge.

Looking Ahead to the Future

On average, climate change is occurring much faster in polar regions than at lower latitudes. This will almost certainly affect Alaska, making the state's climate warmer and potentially more hospitable to thermally-limited species, such as mountain lions. Researchers have already seen the permafrost line retreat north, with large implications for plant community composition and species distributions. As plant species shift, as may herbivores, such as deer, and mountain lions may follow. Mountain lions have been climactically limited in Alaska, but this warming trends and changes in resource availability may change that.

This may seem like a good thing for mountain lions, but the story is not that simple. The complex network of relationships that exist in any ecosystem has spent a very long time evolving together. These associations develop very slowly over time, they are constantly changing and responding to one another. Given time, they could potentially adapt to a warmer climate and different weather patterns. However, the pace of climate change does not allow for slow, incremental development happen. Climate change affects some elements of the ecosystems faster than others and it may influence some aspects in very different ways than others, eventually potentially unraveling the important relationships that have coevolved over millennia.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Commonly abbreviated as: ADFG

Bruce Dale, Director

Main Office:
PO Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811
(907) 861-2101

Chief Wildlife Scientist
Kim Titus
(907) 465-6167

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Alaska.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.