Here are a few of the top stories on mountain lions from recent news articles. For more frequent updates, visit MountainLion.org and read the news daily.
Arizona House Backs Radical Pro-Hunting Agenda
A legislative bill in Arizona (House Concurrent Resolution 2008), endorsed by the National Rifle Association, is now making it's way to the senate. If passed, it would not only make hunting a constitutional right (this is not a huge change since anyone can already legally hunt), but it would also declare that hunting is the ideal tool for wildlife management, and would prevent the public from ever being able to give input on wildlife policies. Scientific research and the public's views could both be completely ignored due to its combination with HB 2189. Although the tagline "constitutional right" makes it seem like this bill is expanding one's freedom, the fine-print actually removes the power citizens of Arizona currently have - and deserve to keep.
If a bill like this passed in California, mountain lion protection would revert back nearly 40 years, and lions would once again be killed for fun... and there's nothing the citizens could do about it. Giving up the right to shape state wildlife management policies and have your voice heard (whether for or against hunting) seems like a huge sacrifice just to have something that's always been legal labeled "constitutional." Contact your senator and stay tuned for more information from MLF about HCR 2008 and HB 2189.
GF&P Lion Meeting Focuses Only On Black Hills Lions
South Dakota Game Fish & Parks regional wildlife manager, John Kanta, spoke about the state's mountain lion population last week at one of the GF&P's cougar management meetings (calendar). His words highlighted the fact, yet again, that according to state agencies, "management" means "hunting." Cougars were nearly driven to extinction in South Dakota and thanks to protection laws, finally began to start repopulating the western sliver of the state. But in 2003, the SD GF&P decided it was time to start "managing" cougars in the Black Hills (the southwest corner of the state bordering Wyoming) and they removed the protection and opened a recreational hunting season to allow residents to kill the cats for fun.
Cougars have yet to establish a breeding population in any other part of South Dakota, and ranchers can freely kill any cat that happens to travel out of the Black Hills. Because cougars are so rare in the eastern half of the state, this region does not have any money-making cougar hunting opportunities, and thus the agency assumes they don't have to do anything. Or as the GF&P plainly puts it, "We're not going to manage the mountain lion outside the Black Hills." And so, the numerous residents calling attention to the fact that protection is a form of management, remain ignored.
More Florida panthers are being killed each year, primarily due to the shrinking habitat that remains crisscrossed with dangerous roadways. Aside from frequent roadkills, an increased number of panthers appear to be killed during fights with other panthers over territory. Each of the endangered cats would ideally roam his or her own home range approximately 100 square miles in size. Limited available habitat and overlapping territories has led to more aggression among panthers. Until they have some where new to go, their population will remain small and in jeopardy of extinction.