IOWA Legislator brings forward thinking Bill to aid mountain lion recovery

The return of puma concolor to historic home range has been long and arduous, complicated by fear, lack of knowledge, and the ever present fallacy that they are competitors for optimal ungulate production, the financial lifeblood of most western wildlife agencies. As dispersers-usually males, looking for love in the loneliest of lion places-move out across the midwest and the prairies, they come to a place where not only females if any, but also protective laws are few and far between.

The Bill described in this article is one that is badly needed in many other states where lions will ultimately start to repopulate. Maybe you can find out what your state is doing to prepare for the return of these important ecological contributors?

Taking a Look Inside a Secret World

The Secret World of Mountain Lions, a film by Missoula filmmaker Colin Ruggiero, will premiere in Missoula on February 27, 2022. The film relies solely on footage captured by trail cameras, collected over more than a decade, on the MPG Ranch and surrounding areas. The cameras are part of a unique non-invasive mountain lion study headed by MPG researcher, Joshua Lisbon. After going through literally millions of clips, Ruggerio and Lisbon found they could tell a story of the cougars living on the ranch. They think this may be the first film of its kind, made from only trail camera footage. This unique movie will be available to stream at home from February 28- March 3. 

Colorado Legislature Rejects Bill that would End Killing Wild Cats for Sport

Colorado lawmakers in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted against Senate Bill 31, which would have prohibited the sport hunting of mountain lions, lynx, and bobcats in the state. Very vocal opponents to the bill, including many ranchers, hunters, and outfitters, vehemently objected to the measure and flooded lawmakers’ inboxes with comments. The Humane Society and other animal welfare groups were in support of the bill. The hearing lasted three hours due to the huge number of people who testified on both sides. Obviously this is a contentious issue in Colorado, with passionate people on both sides. 

Although it is disappointing that mountain lions and other cats will not be afforded the additional protections, the argument has shed a light on some ongoing issues. Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the agency tasked with managing wildlife in the state, receives 75% of their annual revenue from hunting and fishing licenses. People and groups outside of the hunting and fishing communities do not feel like their perspective and opinions on the management of wildlife are being heard. The argument on this bill also highlights that good sound science should be used when making management decisions.

Cougars Crossing

Although wildlife crossings have been a priority in some states for a while, for the first time, the federal government is including considerable funding for wildlife crossings in the new infrastructure bill. The first major project planned for spending this money will be in one of the largest and busiest cities in the country. A wildlife crossing bridge over Hwy 101 near Los Angeles, California, will be 200-feet long complete with sound barriers and vegetation, and it will not only make it safer for humans and wildlife on the road, but it will also help the health of the lions. 

Studies have found genetic abnormalities in the populations of mountain lions near LA, which have contributed to reduced fertility. These abnormalities stem from inbreeding because the animals can not roam away from the Santa Monica Mountains to find genetically different cougars. They are barred by the freeway. Most who attempt to cross the barrier are hit and killed by cars. This crossing will connect different populations and allow them to mate, creating healthier genetically diverse populations of mountain lions. Wildlife crossings are so important to the health of cougars and other wildlife, not only to connect isolated populations, but also to allow animals to move freely without the threat of vehicles, and to protect people from injury in collisions.

Storytelling at its best.


“Heart of a Lion” by Will Stolzenburg

The value of storytelling can never be underestimated. Stories are the purveyors of history,  vehicles by which facts are disseminated, and the wings that let imagination soar.

Our earliest communication, whether as a culture or as individual human babies, comes through the magic of stories. We learn of feats and failures, adoration and abhorrence,  winning and losing, right and wrong, hope and despair. Our minds attend the lessons of a well taught tale, and this tale  has all these elements. “Heart of a Lion” is the compellingly told story of a young male mountain lion, that left South Dakota in search of his own territory, commonplace for dispersing adolescents. Yet, his story will inspire you and leave you in awe of the tenacity of the natural world because this lion traveled over 1500 miles, through some of the most developed areas of the north east in search of a home, food, and love . In the same way that sagas, both ancient and modern, plot out the lives of incredible humans, so “Heart of a Lion”, by author William Stolzenburg, skillfully plots out the life of an incredible animal. Marginally unchanged in biology, from when it shared the earth with nothing but wildlife, the mountain lion has traveled through the tunnel of time, and the dark days of persecution, to emerge, singularly whole, spectacularly unique, and determined to etch out a place, not only in the wildness of our landscapes, but also in our hearts. Will’s incredible storytelling will make you care deeply about a valiant lion, who like Odysseus, would find his home only through his wandering…

You can find “Heart of a Lion” on Will’s website. It is a story that had to be told and like all classics, one which we should retell over and over again.

Grizzly delisting gets attention from Politicians, Scientists and Celebrities

As the decision to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem enters its final stages many people are weighing in on the premature rush to release the care and protection of the bears to states with a historical mandate to provide the recreational opportunity to kill them for sport.

These two letters show clearly that the doubts about relegating the great bear to trophy game status not only run deep but are heard in the highest places in the land.

Excellent review of the Public Trust Doctrine and how it is being violated

We would like to share this enlightening view of the Public Trust Doctrine as seen through the lens of the decisions being made by the Florida Wildlife Agency Commissioners. This is a long read but a ‘must see’ if you are at all concerned that your interests as a member of  the Public, are being ignored by those entrusted with our wildlife.

New Blood (and Genes?) in the Santa Monica Mountains

The Incredible Journey of a Florida Panther

What’s next for Santa Monica’s lions?