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Current Programs & Past Achievements

Please support the Cougar Fund by visiting our Donate page, or by shopping in our Store. Thank you.

We appreciate your support! As you make a donation or renew your membership, please feel free to designate your donation to the area of your choice.

CURRENT PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS

1. PUBLIC AWARENESS & EDUCATION

The key to successful cougar conservation is the development of widespread and enduring public support for maintaining thriving and ecologically effective populations of cougars and sufficient habitat for supporting them. Because controversy over cougar management is fueled in part by limited understanding of the cougar's role in the ecological community, educational and public awareness initiatives are essential.

Programs:

Cougar Posse

Beginning in the spring of 2012 and based on Florida Gulf Coast University's Panther Posse program, Cougar Posse teaches fourth grade children about cougars and their importance in the ecosystem, kittens, research, water conservation, natural history, and the other wildlife that share the cougar’s habitat using science, math, spelling, and music, and requires each student to educate two others. We hope to expand the program beyond western Wyoming in the future.

Hunter Education Courses

The Cougar Fund recommends that state wildlife agencies adopt a strategy for hunting cougars that adequately protects females and kittens. Helping hunters identify the sex of a cat is a simple and easy way to better protect cougar populations and avoid the orphaning and death of kittens.

Public Awareness Presentations

As need and opportunity arises, the Cougar Fund partners with different professionals and groups to bring cougar education into communities that need it most. Whether we're meeting with the general public or interested stakeholders, we aim to help people understand the many issues that surround cougars and how to live and recreate safely in cougar country.

2. SCIENCE & POLICY MANAGEMENT

Cougar management should serve the common interests of the public, which is the goal of public policy in a democracy and not the special interests of a few, but cougar management has become increasingly controversial. Although public institutions such as state wildlife agencies are mandated to conserve wildlife as part of the public trust, the focus is often highly politicized. The Cougar Fund seeks to create opportunities for constructive deliberation between people with different values and perspectives, as well as balance human interests with healthy cougar populations.

Programs:

State Management Plan Reviews

In every western state cougar management plans come up for evaluation and comment every few years, depending upon the state. As this occurs, The Cougar Fund works with game and fish agency personnel, research scientists, hunters, houndsmen and conservation groups to produce and ensure a science-based plan.

Scientific Research:

The Cougar Fund believes that peer-reviewed science is the basis for progressive cougar management. We support groups or individuals doing relevant and conservation-oriented research using the latest methods and technology.

3. GENERAL OPERATIONS

In addition to Public Awareness & Education and Science & Policy Management, donations designated for general operations can go towards all costs associated with running the organization, including rent, utilities, office supplies and staff salaries.

PAST ACHIEVEMENTS

Science

  • Funding for Dr. Toni Ruth's (Wildlife Conservation Society) Yellowstone cougar research using DNA sampling techniques to census cougar populations.
  • Funding for the Teton Cougar Project (2000-2013), conducted by Craighead Beringia South to document the demographic dynammics of cougars in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Biologists will examine cougar predation, quantify cougar behavior associated with human development, and integrate data collection with researchers currently working on wolves, grizzly bears, and black bears. Information obtained through this work will be essential to understanding cougar ecology, cougar-carnivore interactions, and long-term conservation of all carnivores in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and beyond.
  • Funding for David C. Stoner, and Michael L. Wolfe's research articles entitled "Cougar Exploitation Levels in Utah: Implications for Demographic Structure, Population Recovery, and Metapopulation Dynamics" and " Evaluation of Cougar Population Estimators in Utah" in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Habitat

  • 2007 funding assistance for the 178,000-acre Bacon Creek/Fish Creek grazing allotment closure on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation.
  • 2004 funding assistance for the 6,640 acre Canyon-Badlands Sheep Grazing Allotment closure in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation.
  • 2004 funding assistance for the National Wildlife Federation study on the retirement of elk feed grounds in the state of Wyoming.
  • 2003 funding assistance for the 87,500-acre Blackrock/Spread Creek grazing allotment closure in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife.

Education

  • Creating and funding "Cougars in the Classroom" K-12 multi-media lesson plans available to teachers and the public.
  • Cougars in Schools: Cougar awareness and education programs, including art, literature and social awareness in K-University level schools in Teton County, Wyoming and at the University of Colorado-Greeley.
  • Funded Project C.A.T (Cougars and Teaching) in cooperation with Washington State Division of Fish & Wildlife and local Washington school districts to provide a model for integrating wildlife science, education, technology, and community participation with conservation and community planning.

Public Awareness

  • 2006 Hunter Education Program including television advertisements and information accessible through The Cougar Fund website.
  • 2005 Door Hanger/Poster Public Awareness & Education Campaign in Teton County, Wyoming.
  • 2004 Community Event with Dr. Rick Hopkins speaking on the topic of cougar management issues- Jackson, Wyoming.
  • November 2004 Cougar/Predator Awareness advertisement in National Geographic Magazine.
  • Cooperative Education & Awareness campaign in Colorado with Sinapu (Boulder, CO)
  • 2006 Assisted in locating suitable homes and funding support for orphaned kittens.