Mountain Lion, Cougar, Panther or Leopard? Which One is It?

Still Hunt statue in Central Park

Imagine coming across this while jogging in the park!

If you’ve ever gone for a jog along the Central Park Drive near 76th Street, you probably experienced the same shock as I did when I first spotted the menacing statue to the left.

It’s a very naturalistic sculpture of, well, let’s just say a ‘cougar’ for the time being. It was made by a man named Edward Kerneys in the 1880s and placed on a ledge in its current position in 1937. Since then, it must have scared millions of unsuspecting joggers and other innocent passers-by!

I’ve seen it called ever name in the big cat book, so I finally decided to look it up to see which one it really is.

It turns out that, yes, it’s a cougar (aka, mountain lion). It could also be called a panther but panthers encompass leopards and other big cats (except lions) and panthers that aren’t cougars give out a horrific cry whereas cougars only hiss and purr.

Still Hunt statue in Central Park

Lunch from the perspective of a cougar

This one definitely doesn’t look like it’s purring. At least, that’s what Christopher Middleton finds out when he heads past it in Central Park Story Book One.

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