For the third year in a row, Nebraska wants to open a small and declining population of mountain lions to trophy hunters

By on June 5, 2020 with 16 Comments

Nebraska’s mountain lions have suffered enough. They were wiped out of existence in the state during the 1900s because of trophy hunting, and it was only in 2007 that biologists documented a new mountain lion kitten in the state’s Pine Ridge region. Unfortunately, the small population of lions now living in that area is once again in decline, and today, there are only about 34 mountain lions left in Pine Ridge, about half as many as there were two years ago.

Given this alarming drop, you would think wildlife officials in Nebraska would be pulling out all the stops to ensure these native carnivores survive and thrive. Instead, after allowing trophy hunters to put this tiny population of mountain lions in their crosshairs last year and again this year, Nebraska Park and Game Commission officials have proposed allowing more lions to be trophy hunted in 2021.

The harebrained proposal, which could result in the localized extinction of this species, needs to be stopped in its tracks. Only 22 of the 34 lions in the Pine Ridge region are likely old enough to be legally hunted. The proposal would allow trophy hunters to kill up to four mountain lions, generating less than $5,000 for the agency during the 2021 hunting season. But the actual death toll could be much higher: trophy hunters often end up killing mother lions, who leave their cubs in the den and venture out to find food. Orphaned cubs would be left to die of starvation, dehydration or predation by other animals.

Nebraska wildlife officials argue that hunting the animals is necessary to manage the species, but science and research have shown, time and again, that this is not true. Mountain lions regulate their own numbers just fine, without human interference.

Besides decimating fragile populations, we know that trophy hunting lions can cause many other problems for this species. In California and Florida, low numbers due to trophy hunting have led to inbreeding among lions. This has resulted in genetic deformities in the population and sterility among some male mountain lions, which in turn could lead to an even smaller population that can no longer sustain itself.

Nebraska, with its wild spaces, is well situated to harbor and support hundreds of healthy, flourishing mountain lions. If managed well, mountain lions in neighboring states could potentially come into the state and help prevent inbreeding. But this won’t happen if Nebraska continues to sanction a killing spree. Since January 2019, 15 mountain lions have already died in the state, including 12 from trophy hunting. This could also mean that the current population of mature mountain lions in Pine Ridge is likely much smaller than the estimated 22 lions reported by Nebraska Game and Parks.

Last year, the commission posted a video of a newborn mountain lion kitten left alone in a forested den by the mother lion who, it turned out, was moving his siblings to another den and came back for him at the end of the day. Nebraskans were smitten and the video was viewed thousands of times, showing that the state’s residents would no doubt prefer their native wildlife alive in the wild, not as a stuffed mount or a rug in someone’s living room.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will review the 2021 mountain lion trophy hunting proposal during their meeting on June 19th. If you live in Nebraska, please read the proposal and leave a comment here by June 17th. Tell the commission not to approve this proposal and, instead, end all trophy hunting of mountain lions in the state.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    No podemos permitir tipo de prenda sólo por diversión mataron los animalitos esto tiene que acabar no se puede permitir

  2. Nancy Ruiz Guzman says:

    This should be illegal Father God I pray for your help please don’t ever allow these people who have money to just go hunt as if these poor animals were they’re trophy’s ! They’re cold blooded killers and should be holded accountable! These people don’t do anything good for our people or our citizens they’re bad people!!!

  3. Carlos Acosta says:

    People in the US complain against the Chinese and the killing of animals. What difference does this make?

  4. Julie Dutto says:

    Why would anyone allow an already declining population of Mountain Lions open to further decimation by trophy hunters? This is not only cruel but morally wrong in my opinion & a very questionable decision made by those I suspect hunt themselves.

  5. Brigitte Harps-Jaspers says:

    There is no reason to kill these beautiful creatures. So stop with this violence. People who kill for fun are potentially dangerous for humans.

  6. Sharlee Moore says:

    The Barbaric Slaughter of beautiful, spiritual animals such as these magnificent cats MUST BE STOPPED!!!

    Civilized people cannot allow simple minded, uncivilized, savage, little men with their “Napoleon” problems to take it out on innocent animals.

    STOP THEM !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Elena Brandsma says:

    Stop killing, let them life in peace

  8. Cherie Hibbs says:

    Hunting of wolves, mountain lions and bears in America has to stop. Humans do not understand the relationship between our ecology and the animals that live in it. Therefore, we need a govt entity to stop and regulate hunting because the general population will kill or let any animal die off because they do not know or care about animals or the habitat that is needed for those critters to live.

  9. Margaret ruddy says:

    Please leave all mountain lions to flourish, for the sake of our children .

  10. Barbara Walker says:

    Live and let live.

  11. Davinia Hernández Gómez says:

    Please, leave the mountain lions live alone. They are living and sentients beings, NOT trophies.

  12. Christy Bolle says:

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!! Must protect what wildlife we have left!! Too many humans encroaching on their space!! Disgusting, selfish humans destroying our planet!!!!

  13. Elizabeth Rafferty says:

    This is not a sport… These precious creatures have EVERY RIGHT to live there LIFE’S, with out being hunted down & killed by some IGNORENT HEARTLESS person‼️‼️

  14. Freya Harris says:

    Leave the mountain lions alone! There is zero justification for trophy hunting. Killing a magnificent animal just for bragging rights and another head on the wall or rugs the floor is inexcusable.

  15. Jurgen Herpich says:

    What kind of idiots will allow again to kill this beautiful cats which are important for the ecosystem??
    Only for the Money…
    To hell with this trophy hunters

  16. Judith O. Kuykendall says:

    Trophy hunters! People that love killing to show how brave they are. Idiots! Killing for the love of killing innocent animals is a sin against God. If he had meant for animals to be killed for trophies he would have listed it in the Bible and man would be listed too!

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