Fulfilling his promise to try and save Nebraska's mountain lions, State Senator Ernie Chambers has introduced Legislative Bill 448 to repeal the hunting of mountain lions in his state.
Unconvinced by the so-called "fears" expressed by some Nebraska farmers and ranchers, Senator Chambers declared that the hunt approved in 2014 by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission was uncivilized savagery and "certainly not hunting."
LB 448 would repeal the 2012 legislation (LB 928) that authorizes the Commission to hold a lion hunt.
Renowned mountain lion expert Dr. Rob Wielgus has been working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to revise their state's lion management plan and hunting quotas. Some of his published work was cited by Nebraska officials as they claimed it supported their decision to initiate a hunting season, too.
Dr. Wielgus was recently interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald newspaper about Nebraska's decision to start sport hunting its lions:
In a career spanning three decades of research on large carnivores, Wielgus said he has never heard of a state allowing hunting of such a small population of cougars. A total of 16 states allow some form of cougar hunting or shooting. He said the Nebraska season harkens to the days when the goal of mountain lion hunts was to eradicate rather than conserve.
"Hunting a population of less than 30 animals is just crazy," he said. "It's like anything can happen. They can blink out. It's just like rolling the dice."
A recent edition of NebraskaLand — a monthly outdoor magazine published by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission — explained the ecological importance of top predators like coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions.
Although these species can pose a small risk to people or domestic animals, the article explains that maintaining healthy carnivore populations can actually increase the health and abundance of prey species farther down the food-chain:
"It might seem counterintuitive that the diversity and abundance of prey species is highest when large predators such as coyotes are abundant, but in fact it has been documented countless times."
"Just like wolves, mountain lions also have profound impacts on prey, as well as larger ripple effects on ecosystems. Decreases in lion populations within western National Parks have allowed deer populations to mushroom, severely impacting the regeneration of oak trees. What's even more striking is that places where lions are still common have higher abundances of wildflowers, butterflies, amphibians, lizards, fish and aquatic plants. That's an impressive list of benefits from a predator that is rarely seen yet relatively abundant."
Read the full article on page 32 of the Jan/Feb edition of NebraskaLand Magazine...
If you live outside Nebraska, please forward this page to your Nebraska friends and consider sharing it on Facebook. You can also send Senator Chambers a quick note of appreciation and encouragement:
Sen. Ernie Chambers
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
If you live in Nebraska Write your State Senator and, in your own words, tell them you support Legislative Bill 448 and they should too. Use the talking points provided here and your own experience. Please cc: us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few minutes of your time could make a big difference for Nebraska's lion population.
In your letter or telephone call, please point out:
The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.
We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.
Together, we can save America's lion.
You can make a tax-deductible donation with your credit card using Paypal's secure server by clicking on one of the links below.
You may also mail your contribution to Mountain Lion Foundation, P.O. Box 1896, Sacramento, California 95812 or call us at 916-442-2666.
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