The Puma (Puma concolor), also known as the cougar, mountain lion, and eastern panther, once ranged across North & South America from the southern tip of the Yukon Territory in Canada to the southern tip of Patagonia in Argentina. The range west to east was from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in all varieties of habitat. After the European settlement in North America, the Puma was persecuted resulting in the disappearance of the species from much of its range. In Ontario, the puma (P.c. couguar NA) was almost hunted to near extinction and by the late 1800s it's numbers may have been as low as forty individuals. Since the turn of the century the puma was no longer hunted in Ontario and has slowly gained its original range over the last 100 years. Currently there is an estimated 550 North American pumas in the province and their numbers are increasing steadily to a sustainable population.
In the spring of 2002, a group of people interested in the research and rehabilitation of the Puma in Ontario discussed the possibility of forming an organization. Collaborating their information from several years of sightings, the objectives and strategies were evolved and the Ontario Puma Foundation (OPF) was born (Charitable Status No. 863385803 RR0001). The Ministry of Natural Resources status of the North American Puma in Ontario is endangered. Based on the most current scientific research, the OPF is the leading organization in Ontario assisting the puma to a healthy recovery.
The Ontario Puma Foundation is a volunteer charitable organization working in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), Environment Canada (EC), Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The OPF will also have a working relationship with Universities, Colleges, Consultants, Provincial Police, Naturalist Clubs and other Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).