On March 17, 2023, Utah’s Governor Cox signed a bill into law that allows the unlimited, year-round killing of mountain lions in that state. This is a shocking turn of events for Utah, which has kept tight limits on cougar hunting for decades, managed by the Utah Department of Natural Resources. You can read the Salt Lake Tribune coverage here.
As soon as this 11th-hour amendment was exposed, the Mountain Lion Foundation launched an immediate, aggressive campaign to convince Governor Cox to veto this arbitrary change in wildlife management direction. Thanks to your support, we engaged with mountain lion advocates in Utah to pressure their governor to reject this legislation. As you can hear at the 18:30 mark in this podcast, Governor Cox got your messages, but he chose not to listen. Although this egregious and unethical bill was opposed by scientists, wildlife advocates, ranchers, and even hunters themselves, he signed it anyway.
When this law goes into effect in May, mountain lions will be subject to needless and ruthless killing – including some of the cruelest forms of trapping – in unprecedented numbers in Utah.
Is this scary and disappointing? Yes.
Is it impossible to remedy? No.
Our resolve to keep pressing for Utah’s mountain lions is only stronger. At the Mountain Lion Foundation, our mission is to ensure that mountain lions survive and thrive in the wild, and we will not give up until this bad law in Utah is overturned.
In his remarks on this bill, Governor Cox cited incomplete and inaccurate information about cougar hunting in Idaho as part of his rationale for signing this bill. You can be sure that we will be ramping up our public education efforts within Utah to dispel myths and share the latest cougar science.
This disappointing turn of events has made it clear how important it is for the Mountain Lion Foundation to build up our supporter base in every state with mountain lions. Like you, many Utahns were appalled by this move and want to see mountain lions better protected. With your help, we will reach those concerned citizens and galvanize them to get this harmful legislation off the books as soon as possible.
If you’re concerned as we are and want to stay involved, please sign up to be an advocate.
And, please join us for our April 19, 2023 webinar Best and Worst Places to be a Mountain Lion in America. As you can imagine, Utah won’t be on the “best” list.
Then, come back on June 21, 2023 for Trail Cams for Conservation as the founder of Utah Mountain Lion Conservation Denise Peterson will explain how trail cameras can be a powerful tool for conservation as they give us the opportunity to peek into the otherwise secret lives of wildlife and help researchers better understand their subjects. You can expect to see some great footage!