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Listening to Cougar
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This spellbinding tribute to Puma concolor honours the big cat’s presence on the land and in our psyches. In some essays, the puma appears front and centre: a lion leaps over Rick Bass’s feet, hurtles off a cliff in front of J Frank Dobie, gazes at Julia Corbett when she opens her eyes after an outdoor meditation, emerges from the fog close enough for poet Gary Gildner to touch. Marc Bekoff opens his car door for a dog that turns out to be a lion. Other works evoke lions indirectly. Biologists describe aspects of cougar ecology, such as its rugged habitat and how males struggle to claim territory. Conservationists relate the political history of America’s greatest cat. Short stories and essays consider lions’ significance to people, reflecting on accidental encounters, dreams, Navajo beliefs, guided hunts, and how vital mountain lions are to people as symbols of power and wildness.