Nevada rocky cliff over desert landscape.
 
State of lion leaping from tree on snowy mountain side.

MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF NEVADA

Nevada's predator management projects have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars killing lions.

Lions were persecuted as vermin in Nevada from the time of European settlement until 1965 when the state classified them as a big game mammal. However, sport hunting quotas and mountain lion mortality have continued to rise, despite opposition from the public.

About forty-five percent of the state is suitable habitat but lion populations are struggling and continue to be threatened by Nevada's Predator Management Program. The legislatively-mandated project spends about half a million dollars annually killing lions.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Nevada.

  • The status of puma concolor in Nevada.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Nevada.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Nevada.

  • Cougar science and research in Nevada.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Mountain Lions in the State of Nevada

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of puma concolor.

Nevada still uses the Comprehensive Mountain Lion Management Plan written in 1995. Decisions regarding mountain lions in Nevada appear to be increasingly dictated by politics rather than sound science. Nevada's mountain lion sport hunting quota remains high: 243 lions in the 2015-16 season. Lions have also been killed through the legislatively mandated Predator Management Program which annually spends half a million dollars to kill lions.

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Mountain lion law in Nevada.

Historically, mountain lions were considered unprotected fur animals and $5 bounties were paid for each lion killed. Since 1965 lions have been classified as big game mammals and managed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Lions continue to be heavily persecuted in Nevada by ever-increasing sport hunting quotas, intolerance by ranchers, habitat loss, and a new predator removal program funded by fees from hunting licenses.

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The history of lions in the state.

Like most states, mountain lions were persecuted as vermin by early European settlers. Mountain lions were considered unprotected fur animals and $5 bounties were paid for each lion killed. Mortality records date back to 1917. From 1917 until their classification as game animals in 1965, more than 1,700 lions were killed in the state.

Lions continue to be heavily persecuted in Nevada by ever-increasing sport hunting quotas, intolerance by ranchers, and habitat loss. Lions are also falsely blamed for declines in ungulate populations.

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Lion habitat in Nevada.

Approximately forty-five percent of Nevada is considered mountain lion habitat, distributed throughout the mountain ranges in the state.

Keep in mind that although cougars are physically capable of living in these places (based on geographical, vegetative and prey species characteristics), it does not mean they necessarily do. The population is likely in the range of 2,000 adult lions across the entire state. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out cougars from any area. Visit our Science tab for even more data.

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The science of lions in the state.

Lion research in Nevada is generally conducted by researchers out of universities in Reno or Las Vegas, and is in partnership with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Research papers under strict copyright protection may only list their abstracts on our website. But if you would like a personal copy of the full paper to read, please contact MLF.

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Take action for lions.

Nevada Department of Wildlife continues to approve dangerous lion policies like the predator killing projects. Increasing sport hunting not only threatens the future of the mountain lion population, but such disruptions have been shown to increase conflicts with domestic animals and increase predation on rare native ungulates like mule deer and bighorn sheep.

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Sign the Petition: End Predator Killing Projects

04/22/16

Nevada's predator management projects have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars killing mountain lions and other wildlife for a decade to see if prized ungulate herds will increase. Though unsuccessful, these projects are proposed to continue in 2017. The Nevada Department of Wildlife is required to continue the killing by law unless you, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners, and ultimately the Nevada Legislature take a stand to make a change. Please take a moment to learn more and sign our petition.

Slice of Nevada Discusses Mountain Lions

07/24/15 A Radio Interview with MLF Staff and Nevada Volunteers

MLF interview on America Matters Media's program "Slice of Nevada" to discuss mountain lion issues in the state of Nevada. Featured on this program are MLF associate director Lynn Cullens, Nevada Volunteer Field Representative Leah Sturgis, Volunteer Honey Tapley, and long time lion activist Don Molde. Listen to the podcast discussion on hunting, trapping, ecosystem impacts, and population data.

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