Utah has long been a state immersed in its desire to be unique, politically and culturally. The resulting utilitarian doctrines have not had good consequences for predators. Stepping back a couple of centuries, Utah re-introduced the coyote bounty; wolves are targeted for removal even before they have returned, and mountain lions are the unseen scapegoat for livestock conflict and struggling ungulate populations.
Even when science supports the compensatory mechanism of predator prey relationships, Utah still pursues the ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach to carnivore management.
It is nice to knowthat there are scientific references in Utah that allude to the tough lives that cougars must endure, their elusiveness and extremely infrequent interactions with humans. Utah is also trying to include non-consumptive interests by inviting advocates on to their Cougar Advisory Board. In a state that has one of the most regressive attitudes towards large carnivores, this article and the inclusion of those who don’t regard mountain lions as ‘criminal’ animals are hopeful signs.
Half Moon Bay stands as a testament to the thoughtful responsiveness of California’s wildlife agency. The area, which was once associated with the tragic killing of a pair of mountain lion kittens, is now the standard for appropriate conflict prevention and resolution. Following the tragedy members of the agency created positive and proactive protocols which together with broad-based and appropriate training make California’s mountain lion management a beacon of hope in a world where the bullet is often the first and only choice.
We cannot stress strongly enough just how unnecessary and, well, disgusting, trophy hunting of grizzlybears is. British Colombia enables this awful recreation and the spring season starts today.
Let there be no mistake…this is all about money and ego. Revenue for the state and bragging rights for people willing to drop the $10,000+ price on a grizzly bear life. Wyoming, Idaho and Montana are all chomping at the bit to add grizzly bear slaughter to their recreational menu as soon as the bears are removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
We should be outraged, we should be protesting the exploitation of an icon that belongs to us all-not only to those that define their personal value by what they are able to kill.