Episode 44: John Laundre on Eastern Cougar Rewilding
For over 40 years Dr. John Laundre has studied predators and their prey in the western U.S. and northern Mexico. He has conducted one of the longest studies of cougar ecology and behavior to date and has published over 80 scientific articles on his scientific work. He is the originator of the concept of the landscape of fear that proposed that fear of prey for their predators drives many, if not all ecological processes. The one important aspect of this concept is that predators become instrumental in maintaining the balance between prey species and their habitat, not so much by killing their prey but affecting how they use the landscape. John’s book, Phantoms of the Prairie, The Return of Cougars to the Midwest, looks at the phenomenon of cougars actually moving back into the Great Plains region of the U.S. He is teaching at Western Oregon University and serves on the Board of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation whose goal is the eventual re-establishment of viable cougar populations in the Eastern U.S.
- Why state wildlife agencies are really just hunting organizations and what to do about it.
- Why care what hunters think about conservation and wildlife management?
- Piercing the veil of state game agencies and putting the people in charge, not the 4% of hunters currently in charge.
- Following the money. Plenty of money from public coffers available, but agencies won’t use it so that they can say the hunters solely support conservation efforts.
Reading: Dead Cats Walking by John Laundre
Director of Digital Outreach (D.O.D.O.) for The Rewilding Institute
Host and Producer of the Rewilding Earth Podcast
Jack started Rewilding work as Executive Director of Sky Island Alliance in the mid-1990’s, organizing the Sky Island Wildlands Network design, ripping up illegal roads on forest service lands, installing wolf acclimatization pens on Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch & conducting howling surveys to help make way for the final stage of the Lobo reintroduction program in the Southwest.
Through the years, Jack has worked with Dave Foreman and the Rewilding Gang to further Rewilding initiatives and education.