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.
Bear Hunting Vote Postponed
California's Department of Fish & Game Commission was scheduled to vote today on increasing the state's bear hunting policies (see the proposed law changes). However, earlier this morning, CDFG Director John McCamman notified the commission to postpone the meeting. This is not a definite win or loss for bears; the meeting is simply being pushed back because the Department has received numerous public comment submissions, and legally, they must respond to the letters before a final decision can be made. McCamman said he was not sure when the increased-bear-hunting proposal vote would take place, but likely the decision will happen before the 2013 large-mammal hunting plan is finalized. While many Californians may sleep a little easier tonight knowing the proposal was not approved, until it is officially rejected, the fate of the state's bears is still in jeopardy.
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) continues to push for federal action to designate and protect critical habitat for the endangered Florida panther population. Not only has the US Fish & Wildlife Service not secured the necessary habitat for the species to recover, but they have continued to allow development on current panther land. A recently posted report shows that during the past 25 years, 127 projects were approved that resulted in more than 96,000 acres of panther habitat being paved over. One of the many new development plans calls for the construction of a 6-lane highway that would run directly through prime panther habitat. Road kill remains the leading cause of panther deaths.
Resident Sues GF&P to Remove Illegal Pro-Hunting Commissioner
South Dakota veterinarian and founder of Mountain Cats Trust, Tom Huhnerkoch, has filed a lawsuit to try and get SD GF&P Commissioner Tim Kessler removed from the commission. Kessler has been serving for more than 17 years, nearly double the state limit of two four-year terms. Kessler has been the ringleader every year in the (successful) push to increase mountain lion hunting quotas despite any studies saying there are enough lions to sustain the increased harvest, or that residents even want more lions killed. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and in this case, Governor Mike Rounds supports Kessler's pro-hunting stance, saying Kessler has facilitated "great outdoor experiences in South Dakota" and has no intention of removing him from the Commission.
Last month, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife responded to a call about an orphaned cougar. Most likely her mother was killed by a hunter (the season just ended two weeks ago), and the cub was only estimated to be four months old - far too young to survive on her own. Rather than euthanize the cub, as many wardens throughout the country do in these cases, officers contacted the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to find her a home. The cub has now been with the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park for about a month and is doing very well. She is beginning to put on weight and is adjusting smoothly to life in the 723-acre zoological park.