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.
Cougar Fund board member, Jane Goodall wrote fondly of her memories of the wolves in Denali. There was one pack in particular that existed and was studied simultaneously with Dr. Jane’s own work in Gombe. The parallel lives of her chimpanzees and Denali’s sentinel wolf pack make the story of the wolves’ demise evenmore poignant for Dr. Jane.
The introduction of buffer zones is the hope for a future of glimpses, howling and connection with recovering packs in Denali. May this initiative spread to include all parks where great predators roam uncross unseen boundaries and run the spectrum of man’s interest from blood lust to awe.
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 KarelianBear 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!
HB 2050/HB 2181/SB 126/SB 453 – Identical Bills that will allow individual counties to exempt themselves from Measure 18 which banned the use of dogs to hunt or pursue cougars. A two thirds majority of county voters is needed to facilitate the exemption.
The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on HB 2050 & HB 2181 on February 17th, 2015. Comments must be submitted 24 hours in advance of the hearing, so please make sure to send your comments before Monday, February 16th.
Click here to send an email to the House Committee telling them you oppose HB 2050 & HB 2181 (This link will open a pre-addressed email to the Representatives 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:
- Despite quota increases (the quota now stands at 970) and astronomical license sales (nearly 50,000 per year), hunter harvest has remained relatively stable in recent years (between 200-300 animals each year). This suggests that the population may not be as robust and fast-growing as some are claiming.
- Cougar complaints are declining (from a high of 1,072 in 1999 to 287 in 2012). This is in large part due to ODFW’s expanded education and outreach efforts. Increased awareness – not increased hunting – is the key to reducing conflict between humans and wildlife.
- Research in nearby Washington State found that high levels of cougar harvest resulted in increased complaints and conflict. 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, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has adapted their approach to cougar management.
- Female cougars spend nearly 75% of their lives pregnant or caring for dependent young. Any increase in hunter harvest will bring with it an increase in kitten orphaning, an outcome that neither managers, hunters, or non-consumptive users will find palatable.
- Current best-available science 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).
- The proponents of these bills have failed to provide any data that justifies hound hunting. Increased opportunity and participation have not resulted in increased harvest, and conflict has been gradually decreasing. Combined with the lack of empirical data on cougar populations, the need for hound hunting is not supported.
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.
Farming at an elevation of 8000 feet is challenging in itself. Farming while paying attention to the greater picture of environmental integrity is the vision of Zach and Jasmine Cecelic of the Wildhood Farm in Truchas New Mexico. A vision which is encapsulated in this line from Zach’s web-bio, “Today, he makes his personal philosophy a practice by creating room and habitat for all of his human and non-human friends.”
Jasmine talked freely and happily about her dedication to being a producer and honoring the natural world. Read more
Seventeen states constitutionally recognize the right to hunt and fish and eight more are planning to introduce amendments to guarantee this same right to their citizens in the 2014 legislative session.
Recently, there have been numerous high profile cases of hunters enjoying their right to hunt, but clearly failing to understand the responsibility that goes with that privilege, when they end up “mistakenly” killing an animal they do not have a license for. Large carnivore hunting seems to generate more excitement and as a result, more mistakes.
Examples of such “mistakes” Read more