Washington – Comments Needed by 2/18/15


SB 5940 – Concerning a pilot program for cougar control

New year, same bill: SB 5940 is nearly identical to bills that have been introduced (and failed) in recent legislatures. SB 5940 seeks to establish a “five-year pilot program” to pursue and kill cougars with hounds in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Chelan, Okanogan, and Klickitat counties. In 1996, Washington voters approved Initiative 655 by a 67% to 33% margin, outlawing hound hunting statewide. SB 5940 is an attempt to subvert the will of the majority of Washington State citizens.

The Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee is holding a public hearing on SB 5940 on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015.

Click here to send an email to the Senate Committee telling them you oppose SB 5940 (This link will open a pre-addressed email to the Senators in your default mail client. If it does not open properly, make sure you have selected a default mail client on your computer or device. Please contact us if it still does not work). Be sure to include your name and where you are from in the body of the email. Please be polite and courteous. Also consider including some or all of these talking points in your message:

  • The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already has an effective response plan to deal with conflict and depredation incidents, which includes the lethal removal of “problem” cougars by trained department personnel.
  • Researchers at Washington State University found that high levels of cougar harvest resulted in increased complaints and conflict. These findings are being supported by research in other states, too. As hunters remove older, trophy-sized cougars from the population, these “well behaved” adults are often replaced by inexperienced juveniles who are more prone to conflict with humans. In response to these findings, WDFW has adapted their approach to cougar management. SB 5940 would undermine current best science and the expertise of Washington wildlife managers.
  • Current best-available science also indicates that even extremely high harvest of predators has little long-term benefit for declining ungulate populations (the major culprit remains habitat loss or degradation).
  • WDFW has devoted a great amount of time and resources to educating the public and livestock producers on how to coexist with predators. These programs have been very successful, proving that increased awareness – not increased hunting – is the key to reducing conflict between humans and wildlife.

Be sure to submit your comments on this bill before Wednesday, February 18th. To read the full text of the bill and watch the Committee hearing, click here.

It seems researchers made use of a cruel Government cull to study whether wolves are extirpating caribou. Even though that was not supported, the Canadians are planning to kill thousands more wolves.

A tunnel visioned editorial about the environmental movement.

Notice in this piece how the author doesn’t actually address the issues, just concentrates on criticisms. For this article to have any meaning, a potential solution should have been offered that identified environmental challenges and offered a way to fix them. This is merely a distraction….


Bill to protect cougars in Iowa fails

A bill that would have afforded legal protections to cougars in Iowa has been scratched, as lawmakers declined to advance it for discussion.

The bill was proposed by Shane Griffin, a firefighter and paramedic from Nevada, Iowa who believes cougars have a place in his home state. Despite his passionate and informed testimony that mountain lions are a native species that people can coexist safely with the large predators, senators were unmoved, instead preferring to talk about the animal in mythical terms and claiming it was a serious danger to people and pets.

Currently, mountain lions have no legal status in Iowa. They may be killed anywhere at anytime, no questions asked. The proposed bill “would have prohibited wounding, killing, trapping, buy valtrex medication capturing or collecting a cougar — also known as a mountain lion — in Iowa, and made such offenses a misdemeanor crime. It included exceptions for situations in which a person, property or livestock was endangered.”

There have been 19 cougar sightings in Iowa since 1995, a sign that the elusive cat is gradually making it’s way back to midwestern states. However, without adequate protections and social tolerance, these cats are unlikely to colonize states like Iowa. That is why this bill – similar to a recently passed law in Illinois that added mountain lions, gray wolves, and black bears to the state’s protected species list –  could have been so significant.

News story:


Progress happens when states hold people accountable

As you can read in the attached article, a resident of Haines Alaska killed a grizzly bear sow and her two cubs when he discovered them in his garbage. Thankfully, the courts held the man responsible for following and killing the bears. Greater awareness of the consequences of abusive where to purchase valtrex online destruction of wildlife may deter would-be offenders. It is encouraging when states acknowledge the severity of these kind of crimes. They are crimes that target not only the animals but society as a whole.


Iowa State Rep against protections for cougars

At least one Iowa State Representative does not want to see cougars recolonize Iowa.

Representative Clel Baudler, speaking to Raccoon Valley Radio, said: “A mountain lion eats people. I’m not going to protect something that looks to me, my kids, and grandkids as number two on the food chain.”

While we cannot agree with Representative Baudler’s statements, we certainly understand how common and sincere such  fears are.  Helping to relieve the anxiety that comes from unfamiliarity with large carnivores is what motivates us.  The Cougar Fund is committed  to finding and sharing ways that protect our families, pets, livestock AND wildlife. Sometimes, to do this, we must address what is myth and choose instead to focus on the facts.

While it is true that cougars can be a threat to humans and human interests, it is important to keep this threat in perspective. There have been 23 fatal attacks on humans by mountain lions in North America since 1890. By comparison, nearly can i buy valtrex 36,000 Americans died in car accidents in 2009 alone, according to the United States Census Bureau. You are 30 times more likely to be attacked by a domestic dog than a cougar. Additionally, lightning and bee stings inflict far more fatalities than cougars – yet we haven’t tried to eradicate either of these entities.

So, while the potential risk that mountain lions pose isn’t something to be taken lightly, it needs to be kept in perspective. The reality is that most perceptions of these animals are based on myth and misinformation. When you get down to the facts, cougars are animals we can live quite safely with. Residents of the western United States (and Florida!) manage to live side-by-side with cougars everyday, with attacks being extremely rare. Certainly, Iowa can find a way to coexist with this magnificent animal.

News story: http://raccoonvalleyradio.com/2015/02/baudler-against-lobbying-to-protect-mountain-lions/

Click here to learn more about staying safe when living and recreating in mountain lion country.

Ernie Chambers continues to fight for Nebraska’s cougars

Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers is continuing his fight to protect cougars in Nebraska. His most recent bill – to create a specialty license plate for mountain lion conservation –  was discussed yesterday, although not everyone was supportive. Revenue from the sale of the license plates would help fund conservation and education, but Nebraska Game and Parks buy generic valtrex online canada Deputy Director Tim McCoy believes that the bill is too conservation-oriented and wouldn’t sell well in a state where cougars are a controversial topic. He was the only person to testify against the bill.

This is a very progressive bill that would create an alternative funding source for conservation. We will be keeping tabs on this story.


Hound hunting to begin outside of Black Hills on March 2

The rule to allow hound hunting on private lands outside of the Black Hills that was adopted by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission on January 15 will go into effect on March 2. The rule has been filed with the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office.

In response to a perceived increase in mountain lion sightings and activity in the Prairie, a group of houndsmen and agricultural producers in South Dakota floated the idea of allowing get valtrex prescription hounds to hunt lions outside of the Black Hills in late 2014. The idea was quickly transformed into a proposal, and adopted at the Commission meeting on January 15, 2015. We strongly opposed this rule change, as there was simply no need for it. SDGFP already has an adequate system in place to respond to conflict, and in general, conflicts remain extremely rare.


To read our comment on SDGFP’s proposal, click here.

11 Law Enforcement Officers and 3 ODFW employees respond, several draw guns on cougar in Bend Or

How many people does it take to respond to a mountain lion in a tree? It sounds like one of those old lightbulb jokes, but not in this case… Cougars retreat to trees for safety-hence the use of dogs by ‘sportsmen’ to drive a lion into a tree where they can calmly shoot it. Fair chase? Not according to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, but that’s another story. The lesson here is that a cougar in a tree is trying to get away. Cougars avoid people as much as they possibly can. At just two years old this young male was probably seeking his own territory and it was that journey that inadvertently took him into Bend. Not a comfortable spot for a cougar, and to be fair, not an appropriate one either. It seems the cougar realized this when he sought refuge in the tree. As far as we know this was the only sighting and not a very pleasant experience for the lion at all- unpleasant enough that had ODFW taken him out to public land and released him, the story would have been over. ODFW, despite the notorious difficulties associated with counting mountain lions, claim that there are over 6000 in the state of Oregon. If this is accurate buy valtrex in the uk (which is doubtful) then their very own data shows how little trouble is being caused by all these lions. Pets, livestock and our families, depend on adult humans to make wise decisions regarding safety. No form of conflict prevention can be guaranteed 100%, but much like seat belts in your vehicle, using preventative measures gives you the best odds. If cougars do wander into towns and it is an unpleasant experience with no food reward, they have absolutely no reason to stay. Ordering 11 law enforcement officers to stand beneath the tree incites panic among people, it feeds mythical fears, it is a reaction not a response, it is not based on any form of science about wildlife behavior.

ODFW has a rule that says “We just don’t relocate cougars (found) in town,” she said. “If you see them, there something is wrong.” (Michelle Dennehy, ODFW spokesperson).

This statement is pretty much fanciful and cannot be supported by any peer reviewed published science and as Dr Rick Hopkins concluded

” it was “incomprehensible” that someone would decide the cougar should be killed.

“I get it if you get an animal that really is a risk to humans,” Hopkins said, “but that animal was not a risk to humans.”