Non-Invasive Cougar Monitoring Project

The Non-Invasive Monitoring Project (NIMP) was initiated in 2011 to assess and compare several non-invasive techniques for estimating cougar populations. This research examined the use of camera traps, scat-detection dogs and snow-tracking to detect cougars in the Gros Ventre and Buffalo Valley areas of Jackson Hole. Our findings demonstrated several benefits and drawbacks to these increasingly popular methods. One important finding was that individual cougars are extremely difficult to distinguish in photographs taken by camera traps, making the resulting population estimates unreliable. Currently we are exploring novel camera trap designs to resolve this issue. Additionally, we are investigating the feasibility of applying these novel methods to other carnivores, including black bears and red foxes.

Photo Gallery

Click here for a PDF slide show of remote camera images: includes cougars, bears, wolves, and more!

Collaborators and Cooperators:
  Grand Teton National Park (GTNP)
  Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD)
  National Elk Refuge
  US Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf Recovery Program for Wyoming
  US Geological Survey (USGS)
  Utah State University
  US Forest Service (USFS)