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Mission Statement and Objectives

The Cougar Network is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying cougar-habitat relationships and the role of cougars in ecosystems. Although we conduct work throughout the entire range of the cougar, we are especially interested in the phenomenon of expanding cougar populations into their former habitats.

Our mission is being implemented according to the following objectives:

  • Conducting active research on cougars.
  • Maintaining a reliable repository of information regarding cougar distribution and potential range expansion.
  • Promoting working relationships with universities, conservation agencies, independent researchers, and the general public regarding cougar issues.
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Board of Directors

Dr. Clay Nielsen, Director of Scientific Research

Dr. Clay Nielsen  is an Assistant Professor of Forest Wildlife in the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, Department of Forestry, and Center for Ecology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC).  Dr. Nielsen is active with The Wildlife Society as the Past President of both the North Central Section and Illinois State Chapters.  He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and the advisor of the SIUC Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society and Zoology Club. Dr. Nielsen is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cat Specialist Group and a Research Associate with the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative. In addition to having published >120 scholarly works and having given >300 guest lectures and presentations at professional meetings, his research has been showcased by major media outlets such as TIME magazine, the BBC, National Geographic magazine, NPR, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel.

Dr. Nielsen joined The Cougar Network as Director of Scientific Research in 2003.

Harley Shaw, Director

Harley Shaw grew up in Arizona and started working for the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1955. He has been involved in wildlife management for 48 years, of which 27 years were as a research biologist studying the mule deer, wild turkey, bighorn, and cougar. One of the early pioneers of scientific research on cougars, he organized and hosted the Third Mountain Lion Workshop in Prescott, Arizona. He retired from the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1990 but continued to write, consult, and work with cititzen groups in wildlife monitoring. Since 2001, he has served with 12 other prominent scientists as a member of the Cougar Management Guidelines Working Group. The group's efforts culminated in July 2005, with the publication of the first edition of Cougar Management Guidelines (Opal Creek Press, Salem, Oregon).

Mr. Shaw has published two books: Soul Among Lions and Stalking the Big Bird, both through the University of Arizona Press. He also published the Mountain Lion Field Guide, which has undergone multiple printings. He now resides in Hillsboro, New Mexico.

Dr. Chuck Anderson, Director

Chuck Anderson received his B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1990 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming in 1994 and 2003, respectively. During his Master's work, he developed and evaluated helicopter sightability models to estimate moose and elk population parameters. Dr. Anderson's dissertation research involved a number of projects, which included: (1) evaluation of cougar prey selection and predation rates from GPS collar locations, (2) evaluation of helicopter probability sampling to estimate cougar population size, (3) monitoring cougar population trends from changes in sex/age structure of harvests, and (4) cougar population genetics in the central Rocky Mountains. He worked as a seasonal employee for the Colorado Division of Wildlife from 1988 to 1990. During this time, his seasonal projects addressed vegetation sampling elk winter range, elk-cattle competition, bighorn sheep reproduction/survival, and investigating lynx presence in Colorado.

Dr. Anderson was a Large Carnivore Biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department from 1994 to 1997 and from 2004 to 2006, where he directed research evaluating grizzly bear-cattle interactions and application of DNA-based mark-recapture methods for estimating black and grizzly bear populations. Additionally, he analyzed annual harvest data and prepared annual management recommendations for cougar and black bear populations. During 2003 and 2004, Dr. Anderson was a Research Biologist with Arizona Game and Fish Department, where he investigated pronghorn migration patterns and a disease outbreak in desert bighorn sheep. Since December 2006, he has worked in the Mammals Research Section for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In this capacity, he has focused on ungulate research and is developing a landscape scale research project to address mitigation methods and development practices that benefit mule deer populations in areas experiencing extensive energy development. His professional interests focus on large mammal ecology and management (emphasizing population estimation techniques, population dynamics, and genetics).

Ken Miller, Co-founder and Director

Ken Miller is a retired high-tech entrepreneur, having founded or co-founded three high-tech companies in the computer, data networking and software fields. The most well-known company he co-founded was Concord Communications, a public company later purchased by Computer Associates, where he served as President and CEO from 1981 to 1986. Trained as an electrical engineer, Mr. Miller received his BEE degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his MSEE degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of a technical networking book, Multicast Networking and Applications, which was published in 1998 by Addison-Wesley.

Mr. Miller has had a life-long interest in wildlife and apex predators, and his semi-retirement in 2000 provided the time to pursue this interest. He was an original co-founder of The Cougar Network in 2002. He serves as the organization’s Webmaster, President, and Treasurer.

Mark Dowling, Co-founder and Director

Mark Dowling is a commercial lending professional with 25 years of experience. He is currently employed by Webster Bank as a Senior Vice President, Senior Credit Executive, in its Commercial Banking Division. He received his MBA from the University of New Haven and his B.A. in Economics from Saint John Fisher College. He has had a life-long interest in North American wildlife, and carnivore ecology in particular.

Mr. Dowling was one of the original co-founders of The Cougar Network in 2002. He has been very active in establishing working relationships with federal, state, and provincial wildlife agencies throughout North America, as well as numerous private sector wildlife biologists. He lives in Newtown, Connecticut, with his wife, Susan, and their three children (Caitlin, Mark & Sarah).

Bob Wilson, Co-founder and Director

Bob Wilson received his B.A. (Ed) from NWOSU (Oklahoma) in 1971. After graduation, he joined the military and spent three years in the Army. Following his military commitment, he taught Biology I and II in northwest Kansas for two years before meeting and marrying his wife, Marlene. They have two children (Melissa and Scott) and two cats. Moving from northwest to southwest Kansas, Bob received his M.S. from Ft. Hays State University in 1983. He has taught high school- and college-level classes in Biology and Human Anatomy & Physiology for 30 years.

Mr. Wilson is one of the original co-founders of The Cougar Network. He has traveled extensively in the western portion of Kansas setting up camera traps in hopes of capturing a cougar on film. In this endeavor, he has developed a good working relationship with the KDWP and praises its scientific approach to wildlife management. His hobbies include fishing, bow hunting, and the study of evolution.

Key Contributors

Daniel J. Cox, Wildlife Photographer

Daniel J. Cox is a internationally-renowned wildlife photographer whose work has appeared on numerous magazine covers, including National Geographic. The Cougar Network is privileged to feature the stunning wildlife photography of Mr. Cox on this Web site. One of today's greatest nature photographers, Mr. Cox's work exquisitely captures the beauty and majesty of his subjects. To see more of his spectacular images, visit

Jennifer Swan, Conservation Biologist

Jennifer Swan received her B.S. in Zoology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) in December 2009. She has more than 6 years of work experience in the field of laboratory science, ranging from medical testing, biochemistry, aquatic and amphibian toxicology, as well as soil and water chemistry. Jennifer also has experience with wildlife behavioral research and songbird rehabilitation. She was employed with the Department of Forestry at SIUC as a conservation biologist; her work there focused on wildlife species of concern in Panamá. She will complete her M.S. in Forestry at SIUC in December 2012.  Her M.S. research involves an assessment of biodiversity and habitat relationships with wildlife associated with the Panamá Canal expansion zone.

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