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Max Allen

of University of Wisconsin - Madison

drmaxallen.wixsite.com/carnivores

Max Allen is a carnivore ecologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He completed his Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from Victoria University, Wellington in 2014, with his dissertation entitled: The Ecology and Behaviour of Pumas (Puma concolor) in Northern California. Max has since published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, with a focus on using camera trapping to understand solitary carnivores and ecological interactions. He is currently working on felid conservation projects on four continents, including pumas and bobcats in North America, leopards and cheetahs in Africa, tigers and clouded leopards in Asia, and lynx in Europe. In addition to research, Max enjoys running, exploring wild places, and using photography to connect with wildlife.

The surprising diversity of Sunda clouded leopard communication behaviors

Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) are part of the Panthera lineage of felids that includes African lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), and jaguars (Panthera onca). These are among the most charismatic wildlife species, but Sunda clouded leopards are the least understood and studied of this group. Sunda clouded leopards are found in Borneo and…

The acquisition of apex carnivore scent by a subordinate carnivore

Apex carnivores are well known for their effects on ecosystems, which include keeping prey populations balanced and limiting the spread of disease. Another important effect apex carnivores have is structuring their ecological communities. For example both prey and smaller carnivores avoid areas and habitats that are frequently used by apex carnivores, which directly affects their…

Exploring the use of five types of puma vocalizations

Communication is an important component of animal behavior, but is difficult to study in the wild. This is especially true for cryptic wildlife species, such as carnivores, that are difficult to observe. Recent advances in the technology of motion-triggered video cameras now enable researchers to remotely record intimate behaviors, such as vocalizations, in cryptic species.…

Video cameras provide first documentation of Sunda clouded leopard communication behaviors

Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) are a threatened species that is shrouded in mystery. Most solitary felids are renowned for being mysterious and difficult to see, but Sunda clouded leopards take this to an extreme. It is for this reason that little is known about their ecology, prey, or habits. In fact, although radio-tracking collars…

It Takes a Village for Effective Conservation Projects: Insights from the Urban Caracal Project

By Laurel Serieys, Joleen Broadfield, and Max Allen In running the Urban Caracal Project there have been a number of learning opportunities. One of our most important insights is that by prioritizing public outreach we have built a strong community support group without which the project would be impossible. The community support has not just…

A New Milestone for the Urban Caracal Project

The Urban Caracal Project on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa recently captured and GPS-collared its 25th caracal in its quest to understand how these mid-sized African carnivores make their living in urban environments. The newest caracal was a male nicknamed “Titan” for his impressive size. At 16kg, he weighs 25% more than the mean…

Courtship in pumas: videos reveal cryptic behaviors

Pumas are cryptic carnivores that are among the most difficult animals to observe in the wild. Studying these cryptic animals is often challenging, and it is especially hard to study courtship between males and females. One aspect of my research revolves around using motion-triggered cameras to understand how carnivores, including pumas, communicate. As such, I…

Competition Between Carnivores: Untangling the Relationship Between Pumas, Black Bears, and Deer

Pumas and black bears are the two large carnivores found throughout California. Both species kill deer and other ungulates and as a result they often compete with each other. In Mendocino National Forest, where I completed my PhD project, black-tailed deer, including adults and fawns, make up the vast majority of puma diets. In contrast…

Pumas on the Edge: The Effects of Human Activity and Development

I currently work on the Santa Cruz Puma Project in California, studying pumas that live in the highly fragmented and human-dominated Santa Cruz Mountains. Pumas who live here must navigate through a landscape that is a mosaic of different levels of human activity and housing density alongside open spaces, entailing risk during run-ins with humans.…

How Pumas Communicate Through Scent Marking

Where Do Pumas Den?