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Scientists and Photographers

Dr. Mark Elbroch, Science Director of Panthera’s Jaguar and Puma Programs

Dr. Mark Elbroch serves as the Science Director of Panthera’s Jaguar and Puma Programs. Dr. Elbroch designed the current research program, manages and leads the project’s operations, and directs the analysis of project data gathered in the field. Many of the photos and videos featured on this channel were taken with camera traps set by Dr. Elbroch.

In addition to his position with the Teton Cougar Project, Dr. Elbroch serves as the Principal Investigator for the Garfield-Mesa Lion Project in Colorado and a collaborator on the Mendocino Black-Tailed Deer-Puma Project in northern California. Dr. Elbroch earned his doctoral degree at the University of California - Davis, where his dissertation research focused on cougar ecology in Chilean Patagonia. Since then, Dr. Elbroch has worked as a wildlife consultant across North America, specializing in field inventories, the identification of wildlife corridors, and in supporting capture efforts of diverse species.

Learn more about Dr. Elbroch.


Andrea Heydlauff, MSc, Co-Producer of The Cougar Channel

Andrea joined Panthera in 2007 as the founding employee and served as Panthera's Senior Vice President until July 2015. Andrea came up with the Cougar Channel concept after visiting Mark Elbroch at his Teton Cougar Project and seeing firsthand the extraordinary footage Mark was collecting. Andrea also creates films for local and international audiences including the award winning short film "My Pantanal" which won the International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana, Wild Talk Africa in Cape Town, and was a finalist at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Her second film, “Why the Lion Calls” will be coming out in the fall of 2015.


Dr. Howard Quigley, Executive Director of Panthera’s Cougar and Jaguar Programs

Dr. Howard Quigley serves as Executive Director of Panthera’s Cougar and Jaguar Programs, and co-founded the Teton Cougar Project in 2000 with Dr. Maurice Hornocker, one of the original pioneers of cougar research. Previously, Dr. Quigley served as Executive Director of Craighead Beringia South, a wildlife research and conservation organization based in Wyoming that served as a long-time supporter of the Teton Cougar Project.

Dr. Quigley’s work with carnivores has included field studies of giant pandas in China, Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East, cougars in central Idaho and Wyoming, and jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal. Today, Dr. Quigley collaboratively leads the Teton Cougar Project, which focuses on predator-prey interactions, cougar population dynamics, and cougar interactions with other large carnivores. Dr. Quigley is a member of the I.U.C.N. Cat Specialist Group and consults on a variety of carnivore issues, including jaguar recovery in the U.S., cougar-human interactions, and jaguar-rancher conflicts in Latin America.

Learn more about Dr. Quigley.


Patrick Lendrum, Teton Cougar Project Biologist

Patrick Lendrum serves as a Project Biologist for Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem of Wyoming. Lendrum joined Panthera after completing his M.S. in Biology at Idaho State University, where he studied mule deer migration patterns in response to natural-gas extraction in northwestern Colorado.

Prior to joining Panthera, Lendrum served as a Field Biologist across the western United States conducting research on a variety of species, including examining the food habits and movement patterns of grizzly and black bears in Wyoming, winter survival and cause specific mortality of mule deer in Colorado, abundance and distribution of meso-carnivores in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and insect inventories in interior Alaska.


Michelle Peziol, Field Scientist

Michelle Peziol joined the Teton Cougar Project in July 2013 as an intern, and in March 2014, was elevated to full-time Field Scientist. Through this position, she assists in tracking cougars, data collection and overall project organization. Michelle graduated from State University College at Fredonia with a degree in Geology, but quickly fell in love with studying wildlife. She is a Field Technician with a specialty in reading the tracks and sign left behind by wildlife. Before coming to Wyoming, Michelle studied and taught Wildlife Tracking and Ethnobotany at Alderleaf Wilderness College. In March 2013, she also became the first woman in North America to score a 100% on Cybertracker's wildlife tracking certification. Michelle is now looking into possible PhD programs using data from the Teton Cougar Project, and dreams of some day running her own cougar study.

Learn more about Michelle Peziol

Connor O’Malley, Field Technician

Connor O’Malley serves as a Field Technician for the Teton Cougar Project. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Natural Resources Management, Connor worked as a biologist in southern California studying feral pigs, peninsular bighorn sheep, and cougars. He has also taught wildlife tracking and birding in New England and Washington. In his role as Field Technician, Connor assists with all aspects of field work, including research, collaring and monitoring of cougars in the Tetons.

Learn more about Connor O'Malley.


Anna Kusler, Field Technician

Anna Kusler serves as a field technician for the Teton Cougar Project and is currently enrolled in an M.S. program at Pace University. Under the guidance of Panthera’s Project Leader, Dr. Mark Elbroch, Anna's thesis research will examine livestock predation risk by cougars in Chilean Patagonia. Prior to her current studies and work, Anna received her B.S. from Cornell University in 2012 and worked with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust to study how cheetahs use scent-marking trees in the Okavango Delta of northern Botswana. Anna’s budding research career has spanned multiple countries and species, from sea turtles in Costa Rica to endangered bats in the United States.


Boone Smith

Boone Smith began as not just the houndsman leading safe captures of cougars for the Teton Cougar Project, but also as a fulltime technician collecting data for the Project. After several years, Boone and his family, including Sam Smith his father, decided to focus on the captures for the Project, and they remain to this day our primary team of houndsmen, providing expertise and aid in every form to ensure hounds, mountain lions, and people are safe during capture events in rugged terrain. Boone’s experiences have exploded in recent years, and he is now a regular contributor to wildlife programs on NatGeo Wild and host of their popular Big Cat Week. Boone has traveled the world to see and help capture different cat species for conservation as part of these programs.

Boone Smith, and his father Sam Smith behind him, with an anesthetized male cougar caught with Mark Elbroch who fitted it with a radio collar in western Colorado.


Neal Wight, Field Technician and Wildlife Photographer

Neal Wight has worked as a field technician and photographer on cougar projects for Dr. Mark Elbroch in Patagonia, Colorado, and now in Wyoming. In Colorado, Dr. Elbroch pioneered many of the remote camera research techniques highlighted here on the Cougar Channel, which Neal has helped to refine. Neal joined the Teton Cougar Project as a Field Technician in the summer of 2013, and stayed on as a film assistant for videographer Jeff Hogan (Hogan Films).

Learn more about Neal Wight.


Jeff Hogan, Wildlife Cinematographer

Jeff Hogan has been filming wildlife behavioral sequences for over 25 years. Jeff's clients include National Geographic, BBC, ZDF Germany, NHK, ABC Kane, Nature and many others. He has won several awards for his work, including three Emmy Nominations for cinematography. A naturalist at heart, Jeff's passion for wilderness field craft combined with his discipline with cinematography allows him to produce unique, arrestingly beautiful behavioral films.


Drew Rush, Wildlife Photographer and Cinematographer

Drew Rush is a photographer and cinematographer living in Jackson, Wyoming. Having photographed wildlife in Africa, India, North America and beyond, Rush’s images have been featured in National Geographic Magazine and Books, The New York Times, National Parks Magazine, Women’s Adventure, National Geographic Image Collection, and more. Today, Rush specializes in documenting wildlife behavior using remote cameras.

Rush has served as Photography Assistant to Panthera’s Media Director and National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter, on assignment in India and Wyoming. Many of Rush’s photos of wild cougars and Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project staff in the field are featured on this channel.

Learn more about Drew Rush.


Steve Winter, National Geographic Photographer

Steve Winter is a National Geographic photographer and former Director of Media for Panthera. On assignment for both Panthera and National Geographic, Winter has covered a multitude of subjects, including cougars in Wyoming and California, tigers across Asia, Russia's giant Kamchatka bears, life along Myanmar's Irrawaddy River, jaguars in Latin America, Cuba, and snow leopards in Ladakh, India. Winter has also produced stories for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Natural History, Audubon, Business Week, Scientific American, and Stern, among other publications. His photos and stories were recently published in a new Panthera-National Geographic book entitled ‘Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat.’

A portion of the photos featured on this channel were taken by Winter, who has accompanied Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project field team on numerous trips to document cougars in the wild and the conservation efforts carried out through this project. 

Most recently, Winter’s camera trap images of wild cougars in California were featured in the December 2013 edition of National Geographic Magazine and Los Angeles Times. See photos and related articles and videos here:

Learn more about Steve Winter.


Susie Weller Sheppard, MA, Media and Digital Marketing Director

Susie Weller Sheppard serves as Panthera’s Media and Digital Marketing Director, and directed the creation of The Cougar Channel. Having joined Panthera in 2005, Susie directs the organization's website and online communications, including Panthera's online fundraising campaigns and social media communities. Interacting with online, print, radio and television media, Susie secures Panthera's placement in top-tier international and national news programs.

Learn more about Susie Weller Sheppard.


Andrew Williams, Web and Media Coordinator

Andrew Williams joined Panthera in 2014 as Panthera's Web and Media Coordinator. A photojournalist by training, Andrew oversees Panthera’s media collection and archiving and works extensively on the backend of both Panthera’s website and The Cougar Channel.


Folk Hero Films

Folk Hero is a story telling agency based in Charlottesville, Virginia. They were founded by a film editor and a cinematographer, both inspired to bring important voices to the forefront of our daily conversation with one another.

Learn more about Folk Hero Films.