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Mountain Lions Are Afraid Of Humans, A New Study Reveals

First Posted: Jun 22, 2017 04:49 AM EDT
Scientists Discover Something Surprising About Mountain Lions
Mountain lions flee when they hear human voices while eating.
(Photo : MercuryNews/YouTube screenshot)

The mountain lions or also dubbed as pumas in California are afraid of humans. They flee whenever they hear human voices while they are eating. 

The findings of the study were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on June 21, 2017. The work was led by Justine Smith, the lead author of the study and a graduate student in environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz, and other colleagues. This research showed the different behavior of mountain lions, in which the big cats do not like encountering humans, according to Phys.org.

Smith said that in the research, they exposed pumas in Santa Cruz mountains to the sound of human voices to determine if they would react with fear and flee. The results showed that they were definitely afraid of humans. Smith described the results as striking.

In the study, the researchers place audio equipment at puma kill sites in the Santa Cruz mountains. Once a mountain lion came to eat at the site, the motion technology that broadcasts recordings of people talking was activated. There was also a hidden camera that captured the reaction of the puma. They also broadcasted recordings of the sound of a Pacific tree frog as a control.

The results showed that the mountain lions always ran from the sound of humans and never ran from the sound of frogs, according to Smith. The researchers also discovered that in 29 experiments that involved 17 mountain lions, these big cats fled in about 83 percent cases when they heard human voices and only once when they heard frogs.

The Washington Post reports that mountain lions are preserved and protected in California. They must not be hunted or moved to other places except for a particular situation. Scientists have been studying their behavior and found something unusual now. Smith said that instead of the mountain lion instilling the landscape of fear, it is the human playing that role. 

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