- Research & Extension
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Known by many names (puma, mountain lion, ghost cat), the cougar is the New World’s second largest felid, and once ranged from northern British Columbia to Patagonia spanning from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts. Cougars, like other large carnivores across the globe, were persecuted by extensive predator eradication efforts that reduced their numbers and range to remote areas away from conflict and competition with humans. Scientists and managers of wildlife now realize large carnivores are important components of healthy ecosystems, helping to structure and shape ecological relationships among entire communities of species. Under the guidance of Dr. Katie Dugger, PhD Candidate Beth Orning is working to develop multiple-carnivore predation and vulnerability risk maps for prey populations that consider competitive interactions with gray wolves.