Photo of Fayette Station Bridge in West Virginia.


West Virginia must stop ignoring the presence of mountain lions

A thriving mountain lion population once occupied the rugged hills and forests of beautiful Although sightings continue to be reported, cougars are considered an extirpated species in West Virginia. The state does not maintain its own endangered and threatened species list, separate from the national list, therefore eastern cougars are considered an endangered (likely extinct) non-resident species. As a result, state officials are likely to attribute any cougar found within the state to be the result of illegal trade or transport.

  • Return to the portal page for West Virginia.

  • The status of puma concolor in West Virginia.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in West Virginia.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in West Virginia.

  • Cougar science and research in West 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 West Virginia.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with Section 2- Wildlife Resources in Chapter 20- Natural Resources of West Virginia Code. Then attend public meetings with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and ask them to:
    1. Encourage the development of a state Endangered and Threatened Species Act and list inclusive of mountain lions.
    2. Petition for the inclusion of cougars in the State Wildlife Action Plan.
    3. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lions and their habitat.
    4. Offer information and training to landowners on preventing potential depredation issues.
    5. 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. 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 West Virginia. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the West 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 West 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...

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: WVDNR

Steven McDaniel, Director of Wildlife Resources

Division of Natural Resources
Building 74
324 Fourth Ave
South Charleston, WV 25303
(304) 558-2771

Bear Biologist
Colin Carpenter
(304) 256-6947

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

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.