The pumapard is a cross between a leopard and a puma (mountain lion or cougar). I am thankful to Sarah Hartwell for this information. The pumapard is incredibly rare. I don’t know if any exist today. I don’t think so. But they were reported in the news media in the late 1890s and early 1900s. The pumapard can be a product of a female leopard and a male puma or a female puma and a male leopard.
For example, 2 pumapards were born in Chicago on April 26, 1896 at Tattersalls indoor arena which is where Ringling Brothers Circus opened its season. The mating was between a leopardess (female leopard) and a male puma.
The news was published in The Chicago Chronicle on April 26, 1896. They reported: “Two tiny cubs which look like young leopards were born at Tattersall’s where Ringling Brothers circus is housed, yesterday (24 APR 96). They are not leopards, however. Their mother is a mountain lion or cougar and their father is a leopard. They take after their father decidedly, and are the daintiest little members of the cat family ever born in captivity. In fact they are the only ones of their kind, so far as known, ever born, either within the confines of a cage or anywhere else. These black and yellow youngsters were on exhibition yesterday and were admired by all who saw them. They will probably be on view the rest of the time the circus exhibits in Chicago.”
The Boston Globe (Massachusetts) reported on August 1, 1906 the offspring of a mating between a male leopard and a female puma. The cubs were named “Wonder” and “Land”. The former was described as a snapping, snarling and incredibly difficult nine-week-old cub while the sibling was little better. They were born at Wonderland Park, Revere Beach, according to The Boston Globe report.
A further report stated that the male leopard in this mating came from East India where he was captured in a forest when he was about 3-years-of-age. The female puma, described as a panther (which is a generic term for a large cat) was born and lived in the wild until she was 2-years-of-age. The newspaper stated that “Through fortune which is to animal trainers incredible, the leopard and the panther bred and the cubs which are the result of the marvel of animal men“. As you can see the language in those days was very different than it is now and it is quite hard to understand what the sentence means. I take it to mean that people who are interested in animals marveled at this unlikely mating between two different large cats and the offspring.
The paper further stated that historically at that time it was impossible to put pumas and leopards in the same cage because they hate each other. But a gentleman called Mr Joseph G Ferari succeeded “after much trial in finding one of each specie which would mate with the other“. Mr Ferari said that the young cubs in the first nine weeks of their lives had “all the vicious characteristics of leopard and panther“. Comment: this was to be expected! However, they were surprised how vicious the cubs were and that they were impossible to handle.
A male puma mated with an Indian leopardess at Hamburg Zoo to produce a pumapard. And Sarah Hartwell reports on a pumapard that was purchased in 1898 by Berlin Zoo from Carl Hagenbeck. This hybrid was a cross between a male leopard a female puma. Various papers reported on it in early 1903.
The other information on this very rare and unnecessary hybrid as provided by Sarah Hartwell is, in my view, rather banal. It just shows an attitude towards this kind of forced hybridisation in the early 1900s which I find objectionable as it is voyeuristic and the pumapard was bred for commercial reasons, no more no less. In fact, on every occasion that one encounters these rare wild cat hybrids, the existence is down to commercially-minded people who want to exploit the rarity of the animal which are invariably the result of an unnatural mating (artificial breeding).
The puma (Americas) and leopard (Africa and India) do not meet in the wild as they are on different continents.
Below are some articles about wild cat hybrids.