WHO WE ARE
We are a dedicated and diverse group of Utah residents that are interested in mountain lions, their protection, management, and improving our understanding of them. Our work in Utah began in 2017 with the goal of improving social tolerance of mountain lions through the use of community engagement, education, and camera traps. As our work evolved over time, we became involved with other wildlife communities that were concerned about mountain lions, their management, our understanding of them, their portrayal in the media, coexistence challenges, and public perception.
In order to do our best work for mountain lions, collaboration with all wildlife stakeholders is one of our core beliefs. By working with one another on shared goals, we can accomplish more for Utah's mountain lions!
WHAT WE DO
We are proud to be partnering with Brigham Young University and the Division of Wildlife Resources on a cougar study that will initially be focused on prey selection and scavenging behavior. We are also deploying remotely triggered cameras at kill sites to document interactions between mountain lions, as well as other wildlife that may visit a site.
The crucial information gained from this study will help improve our understanding of mountain lions in Utah, as well as improve management decisions in the future.
We are actively out in the field working with volunteers to collect trail camera footage of our wild lions so we can observe their behaviors and catch a glimpse into the every day lives of these secretive cats. Footage from our trail cameras are used in our education programs that are focused on raising awareness and increasing understanding of the nature of mountain lions.
We currently have trail camera in the mountains throughout Northern Utah and are looking to expand our survey areas further south in the near future.
Denise Peterson studied Natural Resources Management, Wildlife Biology, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Michigan. She has worked on a wild felid study in the Peruvian Amazon tracking radio-collared ocelots and other wild cats in the area. Her work experience includes the Mountain Lion Foundation, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, and Voices of Wildlife. She's passionate about mountain lions and their continued existence wherever they are found. You can often find her in the mountains checking trail cams and tracking cats!
As one of the Founders, David Peterson has been involved with Utah Mountain Lion Conservation since its inception. He is responsible for the safety of the team while out in the field, as well as the technical mastermind that maintains and troubleshoots all of the equipment that we rely on in order to do our jobs. He has over 20 years of climbing experience, two degrees in electronics engineering, and is a Navy veteran. He is a firm believer in the power of education, collaboration, and teamwork to achieve our mission of improving social tolerance and understanding of mountain lions throughout Utah.
Melani Wright is an outdoor enthusiast, photographer and wildlife conservationist. From the time she was 5 years old she would explore the local woods and blackberry patches, climbing trees and building forts in her rural neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington. As an adult she moved to Southern Utah and soon got involved with hiking and exploring which led to photographing the landscapes and wildlife found in the rugged desert environment there. Her passion to learn more about the native animals led to deploying trail cameras and eventually high quality camera traps.
Ben Bluhm loves all things outdoors and animals. His biggest passion is wildlife photography, with an emphasis on creative work geared toward conserving endangered and threatened species. He earned a degree from BYU in communications and has seven years of marketing experience in a myriad of different industries from education, to entertainment, to sports, and most recently—Insurance. He is passionate about conservation, particularly geared towards mountain lions and other apex predators.
In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his dog, Brady, his family, traveling to the myriad of national parks in the Mountain West, and trying new restaurants with friends.