Ghost Cats: America's Cougars Cougars (also known as mountain lions, catamount, pumas, and a litany of other names) are among the most adaptable and widespread terrestrial mammals in the Western Hemisphere, with a range that extends from the tip of Chile to the Canadian Yukon. Thanks to their adaptability cougars are increasing in numbers in some places and re-colonizing areas they’d been hunted from decades ago. But a growing human population and shrinking, ever-more fragmented habitat is causing more conflict with people. Cougars sometimes kill livestock, resulting in retaliatory killing. Car accidents also take a huge toll. Although protected in many parts in South and Central American, they are prized game in 13 states during regulated hunting seasons. Recent studies have helped to implement hunting regulations that take into consideration the important ecological role cougars plays in our forests, and have led to better strategies for dealing with the increasing human-cougar conflict in more populated regions. For this story, I documented research in Teton National Forest, Wyoming, where scientists were outfitting cats with GPS collars to learn more about basic behaviors. To photograph these notoriously shy animals in the wild I set up camera traps on elk kills and near caves. Cougars are also increasingly being seen in and around towns and cities, so it was important to capture images of this elusive cat moving through an urban landscape. For that I set up camera traps in the hills around Los Angeles. Over a year later, I came away with photos of a cougar roaming the Hollywood hills. Watch how Steve captured P22's image in the Hollywood Hills. The images in this portfolio were featured in the December 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. Read the full story here.