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Cougar In The Arts

Artists from a variety of mediums have been inspired by the cougar. To the best of our knowledge, the artwork featured on our website is not related to animals on game farms. If you are an artist with work portraying wild cougars and would like to be featured on The Cougar Fund website, please contact us at 307-733-0797 or

" The strengths they represent have a powerful lesson for those that are willing to learn from them." - Nancy Wood Taber, artist

ARTIST PROFILE: Thomas D. Mangelsen

As one of the premier nature photographers in the world, Thomas D. Mangelsen has made a name for himself by sticking by the standards that many nature photographers have long since abandoned in the dawn of computer-generated images and rent-an-animal farms. A purist to the end, Tom does not digitally-manipulate his images, and is vehemently opposed to photographing animal models in game farms. Instead, he focuses on three main elements to capture the ideal photograph: patience, light, and behavior.

Knowing the animals he is photographing, their behavior, and learning to see patterns between the two goes a long way when you spend eight months a year in the field. Tom understands that knowing how to read light and weather, which also affects animal behavior, is key to knowing when to act.

[+ ZOOM] Thomas D. Mangelsen, wildlife photographerImage of Thomas D. Mangelsen, wildlife photographer

While many people put on their longest lens to get up-close-and-personal, Tom finds himself stepping back to include a wider view of the natural world. Sensitivity to his subjects as well as a reverence for the land in which they make their home is the defining mark of Mangelsen's work. "Environment and habitat are so important to the overall scheme of the image" Tom says. "After all, this is where these animals call home, and without placing them in that habitat, without including the artistry of place, the image would not be complete."

Conservation is a key theme in Tom's photography. Through showing the beauty of nature, Tom hopes to encourage others to go out and discover the wonders the natural world has to offer, to care enough about it to help preserve what remains.

His activism efforts in the arena of conservation came to age with a once-in-a-lifetime experience in his hometown of Jackson, Wyoming. A mountain lion mother and her three young cubs came to the nearby National Elk Refuge, where they spent a month and a half in full sight of wildlife enthusiasts and Tom's lens. So inspired was he, that Tom spent thirty-nine days photographing this family of cats, and in 2001 he co-founded The Cougar Fund.

Tom frequently contributes to publications such as National Geographic, Life, Audubon, and Wildlife Art. The North American Nature Photography Association honored Tom with its Outstanding Photographer of the Year award in 2000 for the most impressive body of work by a single photographer. In 1994 Tom was chosen by the BBC as Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which is the most prestigious international award given in nature photography.

When asked what he sees for the future of his work, he expresses the desire to see more people relate to the natural world, to be less afraid of the wild and what it represents.

Many of the images of the cougar family Tom photographed in Jackson Hole are seen on this website. To view more of his work and to learn more about Tom, visit his website or one of his many Images of Nature galleries.


Image of Art-Kenton Rowe Mother and Cub

Kenton Rowe's photography has been widely published and can frequently be found in Montana Outdoors and Montana Magazine. He is currently working on commissioned projects for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and philanthropist Thomas Siebel. Part of the ever shrinking group of photographers whose artistic approach is pure, he does not Photoshop or use game farms, just patience and perseverance. His fine art photographic prints can be found in the Bears Den Gallery in Helena, Montana and in private collections around the country. Rowe is currently working on Montana Top to Bottom his first book endeavor chronicling Montana's people, places, and wildlife.

Rowe explains that "there are a lot of solid groups working toward conservation and I strongly support groups like the Cougar Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and Audubon. I believe whole heartily in what they are doing, yet I believe there is still a missing component to the conservation puzzle, kids. Studies show that if a child does not connect with any outdoor activity at an early age that most never will. I have personally attended numerous bird watching and counting events where there was not even one child involved." With connecting kids and families to nature in mind, Rowe co-founded Bridges to Nature Foundation. The Bridges to Nature Foundation partners with conservation groups and state agencies to provide kids with safe and innovative conduits for connecting with the outdoors and wildlife.

Cougars became an animal of special interest for Rowe while shooting for a 2008 Montana Outdoors article. Some hunters found and led him to a den where a mother cougar had two young kittens. The shallow cave she had chosen for a den provided an amazing opportunity for Kenton to capture intimate images of the family as she nursed the kittens, cleaned them, and in one image entitled "Proud Mama" even appears to be showing one off a little.

View more of his work at


Image of Art-Linda Barone, Cougar Posse

"When you save and protect the Cougar, Grizzly Bear, and Wolf, you protect its habitat and all the wildlife that live there."

This painting representing the umbrella species (and those under the umbrella) of the North American West was created by Linda Barone, a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University and creator of a similar painting representing species for FGCU's Panther Posse.

Photo courtesy of Ricky Pires.


Image of Art-John Dawson Ready Attack

John D. Dawson was born and raised in San Diego, California. He graduated from the Los Angeles Art Center School in 1959. For sixteen years after graduation John worked full-time in advertising illustration. During that period he also taught life drawing and began taking on freelance art jobs. He made his break into full-time freelance illustration in 1975.

Over the past thirty-plus years, John has completed major assignments for the United States Postal Service, National Geographic Magazine, National Park Service, United Nations, Audubon Magazine and Ranger Rick Magazine among many others. He has had many memorable art projects. The two year assignment of “The World of Ants” for National Geographic Magazine in 1984 is prominent. But most recently it is his twelve year “Nature in America” stamp series for the US Postal Service. And, close to home, are the special large murals plus additional art completed for the renovated Kilauea Visitor Center of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Most recently John completed two years of work for his one-man show at the Volcano Art Center. He continues to enjoy painting original miniatures of the birds and plants of the Park as well as working on his next new project. John and his wife Kathleen have lived in Hilo for the past twenty-three years and love it!

ARTIST PROFILE: Dorothy Jankowsky

[+ ZOOM] Hey!Wire sculpture by Dorothy Jankowsky Dorothy JankowskyImage of Hey!Wire sculpture by Dorothy Jankowsky

Inspired by the example of her Dad, inventor and artist Dave Trimble, Dorothy Jankowsky started playing around with wire sculptures in her spare time in 2004. Since then, she has exhibited at several shows, including Art Fair Jackson Hole and Takin' It To The Streets, under her business name, Hey!wire. A resident of beautiful Teton Valley, Idaho, since 1995, Dorothy has also enjoyed taking on commission work from folks across the country with special requests. Most of her pieces are three-dimensional gestural sketches of people and animals formed from a single strand of wire; some are paired with special stones from local creeks. If you'd like to see more examples of Dorothy's work, please email her a request or give her a call at (307) 413-2395.

Other Art

Taken by Sue Cedarholm in Valparaiso, Chile, this beautiful mural is a stunning example of how cougars are a intricate part of many different cultures and landscapes.

A cougar painting found in Valparaiso, Chile. Artist unknown. Photo by Sue Cedarholm.Image of A cougar painting found in Valparaiso, Chile. Artist unknown. Photo by Sue Cedarholm.Image of Art-Slivers of Glass

This 1972 publication by William A. Pedersen containing poetry and photographs of Yellowstone National Park grabbed the attention of a Cougar Fund staff member in a Jackson, Wyoming bookstore. No information was found on John Mathews, the photographer of the cover image and other wildlife photos in the book.

Image of CPFaces

Wendy Rominger and Camile Davis of Jackson, Wyoming volunteered their talents to paint this for Cougar Posse. The faces you see here are those of volunteer instructors for Cougar Posse (Image, lower left)

[+ ZOOM] This drawing of a cougar was done by an inmate in board member Marc Bekoff's Roots & Shoots group at the Boulder County Jail.Image of This drawing of a cougar was done by an inmate in board member Marc Bekoff's Roots & Shoots group at the Boulder County Jail.