Monday, June 19, 2006

2nd lion season sensible

2nd lion season sensible


North Dakota Game and Fish intends for the state to have a second experimental mountain lion season.


The decision to do so reflects a cautious and thoughtful appraisal of the 2005 season and the research data it gave biologists. A second season, tweaked to be more sensitive to female lions and their kittens, will tell scientists and people more about the big cats in North Dakota and should help develop a long-term strategy for coexistence.


People find mountain lions, wolves and grizzlies riveting. The large predators are the subjects of spectacular outdoor films. They are graceful and powerful, noble and fierce. The images often are, in a sense, romantic. Their wildness catches our breath. That they still walk the rough country gives us some optimism about the future of the environment.


Meet one of these animals on a hiking trail, and they’ll catch your breath, too. In that moment, the brain extracts from its archives those instincts stored there from before the development of efficient and powerful human weapons. And in that moment, there’s confusion about who is above whom on the food chain. While these situations are few and far between, they can happen, and there’s risk and danger involved. The situations can be deadly. 


Put your sweat and work into raising livestock, only to find the remains of slaughtered lambs or calves, the work of natural hunters doing what they do best, preying on quadrupeds, and you will be rightfully angry.


Finding the balance between protecting, managing or destroying these big predators can be difficult. People tend to have strong feelings about issues such as these. As reasonable as we suggest Game and Fish’s proposal is, it will generate alarm and outrage among some people.


Doing nothing will solve nothing. Having a limited season, on the other hand, provides information so that we can make more far-ranging decisions, and that seems to be a good thing for people, livestock and wild creatures. We certainly don’t need to have experimental seasons every year for the next decade, nor do we want to put livestock and people at risk, nor do we need trophy hunting for big cats.


What we need is for people to carefully watch these experimental seasons play out. We need to learn about cats that take up residence here and those that move through. We need to find the means for some sort of coexistence among the civilized and the wild.



For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Sign our petition here:


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