Yellowstone Cougars

Ecology before and during Wolf Restoration

by Toni K. Ruth, Polly C. Buotte, and Maurice G. Hornocker

2020 Wildlife Society Wildlife Publication Award, Authored Book

“This is a truly heroic study, involving a tremendous amount of fieldwork over many years. It deserves wide attention.”
—David Armstrong, University of Colorado Boulder

“This book will serve as a reference guide and how-to working manual for the future of these animals for decades to come. There is no compilation of work on cougars like this in the world, no compilation that spans a top-level carnivore restoration, no compilation that elucidates such a difficult species to work with.”
—Jim Halfpenny, president, A Naturalist’s World

"For enthusiasts of Yellowstone or carnivores, this is an important book. . . . truly a benchmark in detailing the life history of an elusive and difficult to study species."
The Canadian Field-Naturalist

"Each chapter could stand alone as a scientific journal article, and the appendixes contain technical information that allows the reader to validate the science. This work is an outstanding contribution to wildlife science."


Yellowstone Cougars examines the effect of wolf restoration on the cougar population in Yellowstone National Park—one of the largest national parks in the American West. No other study has ever specifically addressed the theoretical and practical aspects of competition between large carnivores in North America. The authors provide a thorough analysis of cougar ecology, how they interact with and are influenced by wolves—their main competitor—and how this knowledge informs management and conservation of both species across the West.

Of practical importance, Yellowstone Cougars addresses the management and conservation of multiple carnivores in increasingly human-dominated landscapes. The authors move beyond a single-species approach to cougar management and conservation to one that considers multiple species, which was impossible to untangle before wolf reestablishment in the Yellowstone area provided biologists with this research opportunity.

Yellowstone Cougars provides objective scientific data at the forefront of understanding cougars and large carnivore community structure and management issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as well as in other areas where wolves and cougars are reestablishing. Intended for an audience of scientists, wildlife managers, conservationists, and academics, the book also sets a theoretical precedent for writing about competition between carnivorous mammals.

Toni K. Ruth is Executive Director of Salmon Valley Stewardship in Salmon, Idaho. She worked as a Wildlife Research Scientist with the Selway Institute, Hornocker Wildlife Institute, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which supported the fifteen-year Yellowstone cougar work. During a twenty-eight-year research career, she studied cougar populations in Texas, New Mexico, Montana, and Idaho.

Polly C. Buotte is currently a research ecologist at Oregon State University, working to improve ecosystem models to assess the influence of climate change on the carbon cycle. She previously worked with the Selway Institute, Hornocker Wildlife Institute, and Wildlife Conservation Society, studying cougars in Yellowstone.

Maurice G. Hornocker is a wildlife biologist and founder of the Hornocker Wildlife Institute in 1985 and the Selway Institute in 2005. Throughout his 50-plus-year career he has studied big mammalian carnivores, beginning with his experience with the Craighead brothers and grizzlies in Yellowstone. He has since initiated and directed original research on the big cats on several continents, authored and coauthored more than 100 scientific publications, and received numerous awards for his work, including the Wildlife Society’s 2010 Book of the Year award for Cougar: Ecology and Conservation.

Imprint: University Press of Colorado

Book Details

  • Hardcover Price: $65.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60732-828-5
  • Ebook Price: $53.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $26.50
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-829-2
  • Publication Month: September
  • Publication Year: 2019
  • Pages: 336
  • Illustrations: 84 figures
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Toni K. Ruth, Polly C. Buotte, and Maurice G. Hornocker
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-828-5