A Fireside Blog

Following a conversation with a dear and respected friend, I recently looked up the actual definition of a “blog” and was happy that the dictionary reinforced my intuitive leaning towards a warm and meaningful conversation with you-our Cougar Fund Family, this Holiday Season. 

I hope you can sit a moment and join me to read this somewhat one-sided conversation between all the busy-ness and pressure we endure to celebrate peace and love for each other and all creatures.

Yes, it’s the end of the year, and how many of us are thinking about “out with the old and in with the new” as the 22 changes to 23?

We hope your year has been full of making happy memories that you will build on in 2023 and beyond. We are always glad you choose to join us as we bring you news of what is happening in the natural world and how education, policy, and science impacts mountain lions and other magnificent large carnivores.

Wild Lives: A New Way to View Wildlife 

Our ‘old’ is our previous website and our ‘new’ is a wonderful new website window into our work, with a special place for you to meet the neighbors!

Yes! Wild Lives, the campaign we told you about over Thanksgiving will be available at this link. 

Wild Lives YouTube

Click to watch our “Wild Lives” teaser on YouTube.

You will learn so much more about the lives of animals and how they share the spaces we seldom enter. It has been a privilege to gather these vignettes of peaceful coexistence. The vigilance of prey; the exhausting toil of small mammals preparing for winter; the cowboy walk of  a fat bear; dancing fawns; a mountain lion, barely visible on a dark night, shaking his cold paws to try and get the feeling back; all captured without being there, and happily shared with you so you make that heart connection that powers your need to protect them.


Another ‘new’ is our fantastic assistant Mary Greenblatt, who has been invaluable on long hikes setting up cameras, and doing programs for visitors and schools. Welcome aboard Mary, it is great to have you and 2023 will bring even more wild video resources and outreach because of your help. 

Saying Goodbye to P22

Mountain lions are notorious for not being seen. It is one of their greatest survival behaviors, and may be one of the reasons why they have existed for so many eons when other species have not. Sadly, as 2022 comes to a close, a mountain lion world icon, P22, was gently, and with grace, relieved of suffering after a life in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area, Griffith Park, on the edge of Los Angeles. Why is this significant? Because the dedicated biologists that study all the lions in that area have been able to collect evidence of just how important habitat is to the survival of lions. What happens there is slowly being replicated by sprawl across many other large urban areas that are encroaching and fragmenting wildlife habitat-WE MUST LISTEN

P-22 in front of the Hollywood sign

P-22 in front of the Hollywood sign (Source: National Geographic)

Our Facebook page has more information about P22 and links to the work of SMMNRA, but the bottom line is that as P22 leaves us, what has to come in in 2023 is renewed commitment to preserving intact habitat where we live, whether it is pushing for wildlife crossings, making sure new developments include safe connectivity…basically getting involved to make sure we advocate for the fact that wildlife are stakeholders when decisions are made about the landscape.

Exciting Work Ahead

Although it is not new, it is something that can only get better-education! 

We are truly devoted to it. At the Cougar Fund, we have interacted with people of all ages in person and via technology. We have been in living rooms and classrooms, high school discussion groups, lodges, gymnasiums, fields, cafeterias, city parks, forests, reservations, hotels, restaurants, libraries, dude ranches, churches, and even a couple of state wildlife agency meeting rooms. All you have to do is ask. Whether by Zoom or in person, our passion is our fuel and our programming keeps us inspired. 

We have introduced thousands of people, young and not so young, to their wild neighbors over the years, and our new ‘wild lives’ footage will add to the celebration of what goes on when no-one is around. Just email us at info@cougarfund.org

Thank you for reading this last blog of the year. The work that goes on here will never be finite, it is a constant passing of the baton to each and every person, because protecting mountain lions means keeping their habitat as intact as it can possibly be. Development is going to happen, we know that, BUT, the needs of wildlife have to be part of the process.

However you celebrate this time of year, I know that if you have read this far, you LOVE nature and especially the incredible puma concolor as much as we do. They are simply amazing, please don’t stop learning, please don’t stop caring, and please keep believing that they belong and make the natural world a better place.

Wishing you the warmth that comes from being inside in winter, being surrounded by love, and knowing you are appreciated for what you do for the future of the wild world.

With great kindness,


– Penny

Executive Director