Changing Planet

Short Film: The Secret Life of Mountain Lions

The “Secret Life of Mountain Lions” provides an intimate glimpse into the family lives of mountain lions. This true story follows F61, an adult female mountain lion, and one litter of kittens. Mountain lions have long been considered anti-social creatures, but this remarkable short film reveals a family that is playful, affectionate and interdependent, even as the kittens age and, in the case of F61’s son, outgrow their mother.

F61, an adult female mountain lion, stands tall before a motion-triggered camera in northwest Wyoming. Photograph by Neal Wight / Panthera.
F61, an adult female mountain lion, stands tall before a motion-triggered camera in northwest Wyoming. Photograph by Neal Wight / Panthera.

Panthera’s research in northwest Wyoming continues to uncover the close relationships among mountain lion families that form as kittens practice hunting and interacting with other mountain lions, lessons that enable them to survive in the wild as adults. Join us in watching F61, F96, M80 and M72 as they face wolf attacks, frigid winter temperatures, and a visit from their father, M29.

This video is a celebration of a remarkable species, and it is meant to be shared—post it anywhere you like and as you like. The footage and story details were donated by Panthera. WildFutures directed the narrative and video, and the production of the film was made possible with the generous support of the Summerlee Foundation. Additional information about the film and mountain lions can be found at:

An adult female mountain lion tucked up in her den, her legs wrapped around her kittens as they nurse. Photograph by Mark Elbroch / Panthera.

F61 and Frostbite (F96) still roam the mountains of northwest Wyoming. For updates on F61, F96, and other mountain lions follow us on Facebook.

Mark Elbroch has contributed to puma research in Idaho, Colorado, California, Wyoming, and Chile, and lots of other carnivores along the way. He earned his PhD at the University of California, Davis, where his dissertation research focused on puma ecology in Patagonia in the presence of endangered humeul deer. He has authored/coauthored 10 books on natural history ( and numerous scientific articles published in peer-review journals. Mark is currently a Project Leader for Panthera, a US-based non-profit that conducts science to promote wild cat conservation worldwide.
  • Tamela Fish

    Great Short! I did not know Mountain Lions adopted kittens. I am looking forward to seeing the next one.

  • Diana S.

    Interesting insights into the life of a wild mountain lion, but at what expense?. Giant radio collar- like wearing a cellphone around your neck? Another example of how wildlife sustains interference from humans, albeit for research. It’s a shame we place little value on what is actually “Wild”.

  • rick sarto

    Fantastic film was surprised at the mortality rate. Please stop hunting these beautiful creatures!

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