About The Cougar Fund

The Cougar Fund was founded in 2001 by writer Cara Blessley Lowe and photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen after a firsthand experience observing a mother lion they named "Spirit" and her three cubs on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Mission statement

“The Cougar Fund protects the cougar – also known as a mountain lion, puma, and panther – and other carnivores throughout the Americas by educating children and adults on their value, and by monitoring state policies and advocating for management based on sound science, to assure a lasting place for these creatures.”

History

The Cougar Fund was founded in 2001 by writer Cara Blessley Lowe and photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen after a firsthand experience observing a mother lion and her three cubs on the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Frequent collaborators, Blessley Lowe and Mangelsen produced a book called Spirit of the Rockies: The Mountain Lions of Jackson Hole and a subsequent short film documentary on the historical event.

These two pieces went on to garner major national media attention, broadly publicizing the principal issues facing cougars at the dawn of the 21st century: lack of scientific data on cougar populations within state game agencies, inadequate regulations to protect female cougars and their dependent young, and a dwindling natural habitat further fragmented by human development.