The University of Wisconsin Press
Environmental & Natural History / American Midwest
Phantoms of the Prairie
The Return of Cougars to the Midwest
John W. Laundré
“The return of the American lion to the Great Plains and Midwest is a riveting tale. With the eye of a detective, the mind of a trained scientist, and the heartfelt passion of a conservationist, cougar biologist John Laundré deftly sets its stage, giving voice to this fascinating—and absolutely necessary—predator. The successful return of this long lost species to Middle America, and hopefully beyond, will be tribute not just to the cat’s remarkable adaptability and resiliency, but to human tolerance and understanding as well.”
—Jay Tischendorf, veterinarian, founder and director of the American Ecological Research Institute
Last seen in the 1880s, cougars (also known as pumas or mountain lions) are making a return to the plains regions of the Midwest. Their comeback, heralded by wildlife enthusiasts, has brought concern and questions to many regarding the possibility of having these large predators in our midst once more. Will the people of the region make room for cougars? Can they survive the highly altered landscape of the Midwest? Is there a future for these intrepid pioneers if they head even farther east?
Using GIS technology, and historical data, among many other methods, Phantoms of the Prairie takes readers on a virtual journey, showing how the cougar might move over the landscape with minimal human contact. Drawing on his years of research on cougars, John W. Laundré offers an overview of what might be regarding the return of cougars to their ancestral prairie homeland.
“Dr. John Laundré has tackled an extremely timely and complicated subject. His assessment of cougar re-expansion into the Midwestern and eastern United States is based on latest research, as well as his own biological expertise and long field experience. Once he spells out the biological basics, however, Laundré boldly speculates regarding the future of and human responses to this amazing current phenomenon. His commentary will alternately please and rankle readers.”—Harley Shaw, author of Soul Among Lions and Stalking the Big Bird
John W. Laundré has studied cougars for more than twenty years in both the United States and Mexico. As vice president of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, he advocates the return of cougars to their former territorial range. A Wisconsin native, he is currently an adjunct professor of biology at the State University of New York at Oswego.
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Of related interest:
Keepers of the Wolves
The Early Years of Wolf Recovery in Wisconsin
Richard P. Thiel
A gripping story of the wonder, frustrations, humor, and everyday hard work of field biologists as they track the recovery of wild wolves
LC: 2011043508 QL
200 pp. 6 x 9 14 maps, 3 b/w photos
Paper $24.95 t
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"Professional wildlife biologists, naturalists, as well as hunters, trappers, and wildlife enthusiasts will be interested in Phantoms of the Prairie."
—Adrian Wydeven, mammal ecologist for the State of Wisconsin
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Updated February 7, 2012© 2012, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System