Written by a wildlife biologist, about conservation work on mountain lions, or pumas. There’s a few chapters about the author’s background, his early work tracking and collaring the big cats in the Rocky Mountains, and his efforts to manage friction between mountain lions and ranchers, as well as make science-based regulations for hunting. There’s a lot about the corridors that wildlife needs for migration and dispersal, and about the many species that cougars interact with or influence- whether by preying on them, or feeding them with remains from their own meals. Of particular interest to me was reading about the mountain caribou, which used to have a population in parts of northern Montana and Idaho, but when global warming caused deer and elk herds to move further north, the mountain lions followed and this impacted the caribou. The second half of the book is mostly about conservation work in South America- especially in Patagonia, where pumas live in vast grasslands, on high arid slopes, and on beaches (eating penguins)! A lot in those chapters was new to me. I came away from this book with a new admiration for mountain lions. I hadn’t realized before what the author points out: they are the only big cat whose numbers have been increasing in recent years. He attributes this to their adaptability and their secrecy- they are very good at living in the shadows, close to humans yet unseen. What really makes this book stand out are the photographs- all in full color, most of them stunning. I thumbed through to look at all the photos before reading a single page, and again since finishing have gone back to look at many of them twice. They’re just that good.
Borrowed from the public library.