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Say No to Nebraska's Legislative Bill 747 Cougar Corner 1/8/2010 Tim Dunbar
Like most Midwestern states, Nebraska extirpated (killed off) its resident mountain lion population before the turn of the Century--that's the 19th Century. For more than ninety years there were no confirmed sightings of these magnificent creatures until, in November of 1991, a young sub-adult female was spotted and shot by a deer hunter in Sioux County. Since then there have been 93 confirmed sightings (not the number of actual lions, just evidence that one had been in the area--tracks, trail camera photos, etc.) which resulted in Nebraskans killing at least eight of those lions spotted.
To date, there have been no recorded incidents in Nebraska where mountain lions have threatened, attacked, or killed any humans, pets or livestock.
Despite the lack of any evidence demonstrating a need for protection from these animals, or even strong proof that Nebraska once again has a viable resident mountain lion population, legislators in that state want to declare lions as "predators" and allow ranchers and farmers to kill them for preying on livestock or poultry.
While Nebraska's Legislative Bill 747 has many of the same provisions found in most western states' lion management plans--the right to defend oneself, family and/or property--we believe that listing lions in Nebraska as Predators is just the first step in eventually hunting them for sport.
A better action would be for the Nebraskan legislature to embrace the good fortune which has brought about the return of mountain lions to Nebraska and list the species as a "nongame animal." According to Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, "nongame . . . species have need of special protection and that it is in the public interest to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and enhance such species of this state . . . "
I can think of no animal which better fits that description.
To help save mountain lions in Nebraska, contact one or more of the Senators on Nebraska's Natural Resources Committee. Ask them to oppose Legislative Bill 747. Tell them you want mountain lions in your state, and request that mountain lions be listed for protection under Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.
The text of Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, as well as the current version of Legislative Bill 747 are now available in MLF's on-line library at www.mountainlion.org. Or you may visit them directly by clicking on the links below.