Photo of Monticello.


Awareness and preparation are powerful precursors to positive integration

The hills and forests of Virginia were once home to a thriving mountain lion population. But heavy persecution from humans drove the population locally extinct over a hundred years ago. Currently, Virginia classifies mountain lions as an endangered species. As a result, hunting mountain lions is prohibited. Additionally, Virginia law protects animals designated as endangered or threatened from being treated as a nuisance species. These protections may help individuals reestablish a population within the state once again. Help support potential habitat preservation and connectivity between patches so that we can restore a healthy and intact ecosystem complete with cougars.

  • Return to the portal page for Virginia.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Virginia.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Virginia.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Virginia.

  • Cougar science and research in Virginia.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!


We need volunteers in your area!

Please sign up for email updates or email volunteer @ for more information about becoming a local field representative for MLF.

Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
  2. Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
  3. Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
  4. Email and suggest local officials friendly to mountain lion conservation in Virginia.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with Chapter 5- Wildlife and Fish Laws of Title 29.1 - Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating in Virginia Code, as it pertains to mountain lions. Then attend public meetings with the Board of Game And Inland Fisheries and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lions and their habitat.
    2. Offer information and training to landowners on preventing potential depredation issues.
    3. Consider wildlife safety corridors to prevent encounters, habitat fracturing and isolation.
  2. Do you know of a state official that may understand the importance of protecting mountain lions? Write to them:
    1. Propose a government-funded reimbursement program for domestic animals lost to mountain lions that compensates the late owner with resources to protect their remaining assets from mountain lions.
    2. Revise anti-poaching regulations to impose penalties severe enough to deter any individual's desire to illegally take a mountain lion.

Long term Steps:

  1. Request to meet with your state legislators to talk about
    1. The potential management benefits that could stem from accurately recording mountain lions killed on the state’s roads.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Virginia. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Virginia Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Virginia and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

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

Robert "Bob" Duncan, Executive Director

Director's Office
Virginia Department of Game
and Inland Fisheries
P.O. Box 90778
Henrico, VA 23228
(505) 476-8000

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

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.