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UW Summer Lecture Series at AMK Ranch Begins Thursday

June 15, 2015
Two mountain lions facing each other in the wild
Mark Elbroch, science director of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project in Kelly, is the first speaker of the Harlow Summer Seminars at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service Research Center. (Mark Elbroch Photo)

Mark Elbroch, science director of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project in Kelly, is the first speaker of the Harlow Summer Seminars Thursday, June 18, at the University of Wyoming-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Elbroch will discuss “Altruism in Mountain Lions” at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Research Center at (307) 543-2463.

Formerly called the AMK Ranch Talk Series, the program is now named after retired UW Department of Zoology and Physiology Professor Hank Harlow. Since 1993, he has been an effective ambassador for UW, helping make the UW-NPS Research Center in Grand Teton National Park a significant center for research and community outreach. Harlow began the popular weekly public seminars during the summer months.

Elbroch says biologists define altruism not just as selfless behavior that benefits others, but behavior that comes at a cost to the provider. Most biologists also consider this behavior in animals to be a myth; they feel perceived altruistic behavior may simply be obliquely aiding relatives with the primary purpose of benefiting oneself.

He explores altruism in mountain lions, which are solitary carnivores that interact rarely for courtship or over territorial disputes. His visual presentation reveals that mountain lions interact with a frequency that challenges old assumptions. Elbroch also will discuss his research findings on a study of food-sharing among mountain lions in Jackson Hole and surrounding mountains.

Elbroch’s research emphasizes conservation imperatives for pumas and jaguars, and includes livestock conflict and varied community and behavioral ecology topics. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic’s CatWatch news blog and has written and co-written 10 books on natural history, including “Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species” and the new Peterson Reference Guide “Behavior of North American Mammals.”

For more information, visit his website at www.panthera.org.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.


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