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Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Rhode Island.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Rhode Island, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Rhode Island.

Although mountain lions may be physically capable of living in an area, human activities and attitudes could keep them from reestablishing a population there. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out mountain lions from any area. For more data on
                  habitat use, check out our various Science tabs.

  • Return to the portal page for Rhode Island.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Rhode Island.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Rhode Island.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Rhode Island.

  • Cougar science and research in Rhode Island.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Rhode Island Lion Habitat and Population

Before European settlement, mountain lions roamed throughout Rhode Island and beyond. Perceived conflict with livestock, heavy hunting pressure, conversion of wildlands to agriculture and other forms of habitat loss drove the mountain lions of Rhode Island to local extinction.

Rhode Island Cougar Habitat
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Click on map to enlarge.

There hasn't been much, if any, research specifically addressing potential habitat for mountain lions in the state, but there has been work looking at the importance of potential dispersal corridors across the U.S. A study by Michelle LaRue (2007) estimates that there are 128,608 square kilometers of highly suitable habitat across the Midwest. Additional habitat certainly exists throughout the South and East Coast as well. A viable population in Rhode Island would help provide potential dispersing individuals to help repopulate neighboring states where mountain lions once thrived.

Establishing mountain lion-friendly legislation and management practices will likely need to play a role in allowing this top carnivore to return to the great state of Rhode Island. Check out our Action Tab to see what you can do to help!

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

Janet Coit, Director

RI DEM Providence Office
235 Promenade Street
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-4700 ex. 2409

Wildlife Division
Jason Osenkowski, Deputy Chief
277 Great Neck Road
West Kingston, RI 02892
(401) 789-7481

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

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.