Item Number: 2665LR
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ABOUT THE IMAGE:
The year that a mother cougar set up a maternity wing right in the middle of Thomas D. Mangelsen’s home valley, Jackson Hole, was one that taught him a lesson he will carry to the end. “Wildness can return to our backyards if we let it in, if we consciously make space and if we respect the boundaries that determine the limits of safety and danger for both wildlife and people,” Mangelsen says.
Spirit of the Mountains
is the result of Mangelsen spending 42 days from dawn until dusk watching a female cougar raise her three-month-old triplets outside a den, once used by ancient peoples. The den was high up on Miller Butte inside the National Elk Refuge just to the north of the town of Jackson, Wyoming. As a result of this experience, realizing if she went outside the boundaries of the refuge where cougars are hunted for sport and knowing the young would starve to death if their mother didn’t return, he founded The Cougar Fund devoted to advancing the conservation and understanding of these greatest of American wildcats.
Mangelsen describes the natural history like this, “Emerging from her den to break up a tousle between her kittens, the last rays of sun illuminate an otherwise well-hidden cat. While the cubs are merely rough housing, she keeps the peace within the confines of their cliff side haven, so as not to attract attention. The mother lion will move her family often, at first carrying them in her mouth by the scruffs of their necks until they’re capable of walking on their own. Almost undetectable, dens located in jumbles of rocks serve as perfect hideaways.”