John Laundré was born and raised in the Midwest (Wisconsin) and received his bachelors and masters degrees there. He received his PhD from Idaho State University in 1979.
Since then, he has been working in large mammal predator-prey ecology and has studied predators and their prey in the western U.S. and northern Mexico. His experience includes working with cougars, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, deer, elk, bison, and bighorn sheep. He has conducted one of the longest (17 years) studies of cougar ecology and behavior to date and has published over 80 scientific articles on his scientific work.
He is the originator of the concept of the landscape of fear which proposed that fear of prey for their predators drives many ecological processes. An important aspect of this concept is that predators are instrumental in maintaining the balance between prey species and their habitat, not so much by killing their prey but affecting how they use the landscape.
He is the author of the book, Phantoms of the Prairie, The Return of Cougars to the Midwest, that looks at the phenomenon of cougars actually moving back into the Great Plains region of the U.S. He currently lives in western Oregon where he is “semi-retired” and teaching part-time at Western Oregon University. He on the board of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation whose goal is the eventual re-establishment of viable cougar populations in the Eastern U.S.