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.

Authorities in Oregon investigate as yet unconfirmed human fatality by a mountain lion

UPDATE September 14th 2018

ODWF has now announced the removal of an adult female cougar in the area where Diana Bober’s backpack was found. There is no evidence available yet to link this cougar with the fatal attack on Diana. ODFW does, however, speculate, that the cougar’s proximity to the scene is indicative of known cougar behavior.

In an astonishing statement, ODFW has said it will continue to kill cougars in the area until a ‘match’ is found.

Prior story:

For the second time this year, the awful news has come across our devices, our TV’s or been heard on the radio….there have been not one, but two, tragic human deaths in 2018 associated with the elusive, powerful, and yes, still wild, mountain lion.

While it is true that human deaths caused by mountain lions are extremely rare, and in the last 125 years, fatal human tragedy has occurred  just 27 times, it is also true that no statistic or opinion will ease the grief of loved ones who have suffered such a loss. Our priority must always be with the families of victims, who are so in need of our compassion and respect; and with the passage of time buy valtrex 500 necessary for the professionals to do their job in discovering what might have happened.

A tragedy like this should not become a mission to apportion blame or promote any particular agenda. As more details unfold, there will be a chance for all of us to become informed based on fact and not conjecture.

We urge the authorities in Oregon to take a measured and proactive approach, that does NOT include random killing of cougars in the area, where this tragic interaction happened. Please take the time to sedate, examine, and take pathological samples from any lions you find, fit them with gps collars and await the results of all forensic investigation, before deciding which lion, and why (disease, starvation, disability, injury, poisoning, reproductive status, age and condition) was involved. Whatever decision you then make will be a response to the type of evidence your scientists hold in high regard and NOT  a reaction to appease fear and provide a false sense of security for the understandably concerned public.

Compassion and perspective are the best tools for both managers and the public when dealing with such primal events.



He was drawn for a coveted grizzly bear license, so why is he thrilled that he may not get to shoot one?

950433_1_1128-us-society-cbears_standardThe news on Thursday September 13th that Judge Dana Christiansen has given grizzly bears another two weeks reprieve from being hunted as trophies in Idaho and Wyoming, comes as a huge relief to grizzly bear license holder and Cougar Fund co-founder, Thomas D. Mangelsen. This shouldn’t surprise you as Tom has spent a lifetime chronicling the lives of wildlife and sharing intimate photographic records of their beauty, their behavior, and their contribution to the environment. Tom’s art has been to reveal nature’s art to a wider audience through the lens of his camera. His success in being randomly drawn for a Wyoming grizzly bear license, that he only intends to use to photograph, has inspired support for grizzly bears through publicity from as near as Wyoming and as far away as french icon, La Monde. In between, the Washington Post, the New York Times and 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper have told Tom’s story of reverence and support for the grizzly…and the public has heard the message loud and clear!

Though Tom may not be able to use his license to hunt an image, he, and many others are cautiously optimistic that the judge will rule, not only in favor of the litigants but in favor of the bears themselves. Tom’s work has shown many people the value and beauty of  ‘nature alive’.

What Tom hangs on his wall is still out there, somewhere, living a wild and authentic life, only sharing the fleeting image of its existence!

The overview of today’s extended delay to the Idaho and Wyoming hunts can be found in this press release by the Western Environmental Law Center and WildEarth how can i order valtrex online Guardians.

Yellowstone grizzlies: Court blocks ID, WY trophy hunts for 14 more days

MISSOULA, Mont. —Today, a U.S. District Court judge extended a temporary restraining order to block planned grizzly bear trophy hunts in Idaho and Wyoming for 14 more days while he prepares a ruling. The judge may only renew a temporary restraining order such as this once, so if there is no decision in the case over the next 14 days, wildlife advocates will request an injunction stopping the hunt until a decision is made.

“We are gratified Yellowstone’s beloved bears are once again safe from trophy hunters’ bullets,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We look forward to the judge’s thoughtful resolution of the deep flaws with the feds’ removal of protections from these imperiled bears.”

“We appreciate that Judge Christensen is preventing any unnecessary bloodshed while he deliberates on this important case,” said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “There is simply no need to rush into a grizzly bear hunt, with potentially devastating consequences for this iconic species, when the merits of that hunt are being reviewed in federal court.”


Grizzlies in the Yellowstone region remain threatened by dwindling food sources, climate change, small population size, isolation, habitat loss and fragmentation, and high levels of human-caused mortality. The Yellowstone population is isolated and has yet to connect to bears elsewhere in the U.S., including to bears in and around Glacier National Park. Grizzlies also have yet to reclaim key historic habitats, including the Bitterroot Range along the Montana-Idaho border.

Hunted, trapped, and poisoned to near extinction, grizzly bear populations in the contiguous U.S. declined drastically from nearly 50,000 bears to only a few hundred by the 1930s. In response to the decline, the Service designated the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, a move that likely saved them from extinction. The species has since struggled to hang on, with only roughly 1,800 currently surviving in the lower 48 states. Grizzlies remain absent from nearly 98 percent of their historic range. Last year (2017) marked the highest mortality for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzlies since their ESA listing.

Grizzly bear mortality in 2018 is proceeding at a record pace, even without the added mortalities from trophy hunting which would have claimed up to 22 more. At last count, approximately 690 grizzly bears resided in the Greater Yellowstone region, down from 2015’s count of 717 bears. The last three years had near record-breaking grizzly mortality, with at least 41 bears killed in 2017, and an additional 15 listed as probable mortalities. Of this, at least 32 were killed by humans, and humans were responsible for at least 9 of the 15 probable deaths. As of this writing, 42 grizzlies are on the 2018 known and probable mortalities list for the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, far outpacing previous years’ rates.

It is always encouraging when decision makers respond positively to our appeals.

Thanks to Governor Inslee for listening to the plea of  advocates. He has made a decision that inspires respect for you, and in turn, respect for the process of the great state your represent. We hope that future season setting will be based upon the sound science that flows from Washington’s Academic Institutions and from WDFW’s very own Biological Field Staff.

Could large carnivores be the new ‘canary in the mine shaft?’

This article brings up some important questions. Predators and prey have co-existed for millennia. We know that large carnivores eat ungulates but the fact that both thrive indicates that the predation has been what scientists call ‘compensatory’. The population of ungulates is only affected by predation in the same way that sickness and natural death would affect them. The enigma that is being observed now is that ungulates and predators are not keeping this biological balance and, in fact ungulate herds are diminishing.

Many states and provinces are resorting to exerting extremely heavy pressure on carnivores in an attempt to retain prey numbers. The Cougar Fund has always questioned the wisdom of managing one species for another-especially when the targets are carnivores and the prey is being preserved for socially driven harvest demands. The socially driven harvest is similar to the mine owner demanding the extraction of ore in spite of the obvious danger.

The deeper question is why is this happening? Is normal predation becoming additive because wolves, bears and cougars are ‘over-indulging’ in keeping with our cultural buy valtrex in australia propensity? We doubt that…We think it is more likely that the predators are actually indicating some greater danger, somewhat like the canary in the mine shaft! If ungulates are dying because of something greater-like gasses in a mine shaft- the affect of the carnivores is telling us to look beyond predation. Instead of heeding the bigger picture-the ‘gas’ which could be climate change, habitat destruction, human encroachment-our agencies are trying to resuscitate the canary!

It is time to stop pretending that killing predators is solving the problem. It is time to recognize that until we harness the negative effects that we, as humans, are having on the planet, we are merely scapegoating wolves and cougars and bears. We are making political choices to manage for the hunter and not the animal. We are making excuses to distract from our own behavior and we are not looking at the big picture of what our planet needs, rather at the short term instant gratification of what a minority of people want.

Click here to read the article

A Tale of Two States

Oregon has made another controversial decision to lethally remove a mountain lion from an area in the town of Bend. The commitment to public safety is indeed understandable and no-one would argue otherwise. The question is, however, whether the knee jerk reaction of immediately killing mountain lions is the very best response to ensuring public safety?

Oregon’s neighbor to the south, California, has a totally different attitude and response to the presence of mountain lions in that great state. The people of California voted to protect cougars from the practice of recreational slaughter. This does not mean that mountain lions are not managed, indeed authorities still respond to situations of public safety and livestock growers are able to protect their domestic interests. The difference is in the way that authorities respond and the receptivity of the public in contributing to their own safety.

Within hours of each other the following two scenarios unfolded. We must question why one was dealt with in a proactive, humane and successful manner and the actions in the other  were reactive and frankly, offensive. How can we encourage states to be sensitive and protect their citizens at the same time? California and Florida prove it can be done. We must ask the states that ‘shoot first’ why they make the choice to do so, because that is all it is…a choice

Working WITH nature to protect it.

Who hasn’t heard the phrase “fight like cats and dogs”? This aspect of natural boundaries between species is celebrated in the use of dogs as non-lethal deterrents in conflict prevention with wild carnivores. Whether it is the use of Livestock Guardian Dogs to protect growers’ investments or the Karelian how to order valtrex online  Bear Dogs that wildlife professionals are utilizing to negatively reinforce undesirable wildlife behavior, dogs are a huge resource in the toolbox available to mitigate coexistence.

Please enjoy this article and think about asking YOUR state’s game managers or livestock association to consider making nature work for them!

The question is not, ‘Can they REASON?’ or ‘Can they “TALK?’, but ‘Can they SUFFER?’ Jeremy Bentham

Please click this link to send your comments 

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The Cougar Fund is proud to announce our new blog!

The first post of The Cougar Fund’s blog is dedicated to good people and to good news. It was the foresight and compassion of acclaimed wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen and author Cara Blessley Lowe that led to the foundation of The Cougar Fund.

Tom’s magnificent images and Cara’s sensitive writing brought the story of Spirit of the Rockies to the world. The beautiful story of a mother cougar and her three young kittens paved the way to change how mountain lions are perceived in the hearts and minds of many people. The myths about cougars that form the ramparts behind which those who would destroy them hide, are slowly but surely being undermined by science and common sense.

The Cougar Fund carries the torch that Tom and Cara lit.

Our mission is to enlighten people about the natural history and behavior of this iconic species, and to lighten the burden of fear that has caused apex predators to be undeservedly vilified.  And what of the cougars themselves-the ghost cats? They spend their lives trying to avoid humans. They are contributors to the environment and yet their lives, or the taking of them, are regarded as ‘sport’ in our society. It is vital that we encourage citizens and decision makers to re-examine what constitutes ‘recreation’.  Hunting cougars is not a safety mechanism. It is not a management tool…it is only for fun! Habitat loss and fragmentation are probably the greatest challenges that wildlife face. Innovation and willingness to take steps towards conflict prevention are proactive tools for respectful co-existence.

Cougars and other large carnivores are not present on the land as targets of our fickle entertainment choices. They are all keystone species that directly enhance the biodiversity of the environment. We need them.

We are excited and humbled to be able to share our thoughts and our mission with you through this blog. We want to bring you interesting and inspiring guest blogs, to weigh in on current events, to encourage participation in finding solutions when challenges occur.

The Cougar Fund’s message is being echoed in ever widening circles. More people are stepping up to be a voice for animals in the human forum of wildlife decision making. When this happens in Government it is very good news indeed. We see this demonstrated in Nebraska where Senator Ernie Chambers has challenged the validity and humaneness of that state’s inaugural  cougar hunt. Senator Chambers is standing up for cougars and other creatures and people are hearing him. This gives us great hope and affirms the passion and dedication of Tom and Cara. Their decision to form The Cougar Fund was visionary, and it is undeniably good news for the natural world.

Please ‘tune-in’ again soon. You are all essential members of The Cougar Fund Family!