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.
Despite Probably Less Lions in Montana, Must Kill More
Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department is seeking public comment on their proposed changes to mountain lion hunting quotas in fifty hunting districts (submit comments). Of those fifty, only two have recommended to decrease the quota, while the other forty-eight want to see increases. Despite the fact over 300 lions are killed annually by hunters in Montana, they still rarely come close the already-high limit (2009's quota was 534 and only 352 were killed). Not reaching the limit, especially when using hounds to hunt, usually indicates there are fewer lions and the population may be in trouble. But the Montana FW&P has interpreted these numbers to mean that since "not enough" lions are being killed, the population is secretly breeding out of control and thus even more lions should be destroyed to maintain balance.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife has released an educational Mountain Lion Safety Video on YouTube. The clip teaches people how to be safe when living or recreating in lion country, and includes tips for protecting pets and livestock. Although the video points out mountain lions are not a big threat to people and should be kept wild, it fails to mention the state allows more than 300 lions to be killed annually through the DoW's management plan. The vast majority are killed for fun by hunters and the state seems to support the idea that having less lions is a good thing.
Livestock Protection is the Key to Big Cats' Survival
Although a different species than the mountain lion, jaguars face similar hardships on the South American continent, and the same infamous reputation as cougars among the ranching community. But truth be told, livestock are not a common food source for jaguars or cougars, and diseases kill more calves than wild predators. Biologist Henrique Concone pointed out that hunters and ranchers may actually be making the problem worse since injured and orphaned jaguars are more likely to prey on livestock, and every deer a hunter kills for sport is one less "appropriate" meal for a jaguar. The article goes on to point out, "one of the best ways to save wild jaguars is to help ranchers take better care of their domestic animals." Sound familiar? See MLF's Protecting Pets & Livestock resources for more information.
Local residents and visitors to Banff National Park (about fifty miles west of Calgary, Canada) are mourning the loss of their local cougar, nicknamed Doug. Ear-tagged and collared almost ten years ago, Doug was a dominant male lion who lived on the urban edge. He was seen often by visitors but never got into any trouble. Because he was fourteen years old - an impressive old age for any wild cougar! - and showed no signs of serious injury, biologists believe he died of age-related natural causes. His behavior proved that cougars learn to avoid people, and having an adult resident lion is the best way to keep the younger, curious ones out.