Documenting Cougar Population Trends in Yellowstone National Park

Thrilled by the success of our ongoing support of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, we learned about the Yellowstone Cougar Project and said, "count us in!". The elusive cougar is Yellowstone's top feline predator. Cougars unfortunately tracked a similar demise to the Wolf as part of predator removal campaigns in the early 1900's. Yellowstone's cougar population has since rebounded, but much remains to be learned to ensure Yellowstone remains an intact ecosystem respective to its native large carnivores.

Facilitated and driven by Yellowstone Forever, this project documents population trends, predation patterns, habitat selection, and behavior using tools like GPS accelerometer collars, remote cameras, and noninvasive genetic surveys. This knowledge helps answer questions regarding the role cougars play in predator-prey dynamics, competition with wolves and bears, and how Yellowstone’s predator diversity influences the Park’s ecology.