By Samantha Miller, Campaign Manager, Cats Aren’t Trophies
Greetings from the frontlines of the CATs campaign in Colorado! I am thrilled to provide an update on Initiative 91, the ballot initiative to ban trophy hunting and trapping of Colorado’s mountain lions, bobcats, and lynx. I would also like to introduce myself as the CATs campaign manager to the Mountain Lion Foundation membership.
Prior to joining CATs, I advocated alongside Mountain Lion Foundation in my role as the executive director of Washington Wildlife First. During that time, we achieved significant victories for wildlife in Washington state, such as the prohibition of spring bear hunting and the advancement of a legislative proviso for agency reform at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
I know the excellent work in Washington is still underway, and I was honored to be asked to return home to Colorado to lead this once-in-a-generation ballot initiative for the Center for Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action.
I have been a lifelong carnivore advocate and worked across the eleven Western states on carnivore coexistence policies. Right now, Colorado has the unique opportunity to lead the nation in biodiversity restoration and wildlife coexistence policies. Initiative 91 is central to this opportunity.
Indiscriminate sport hunting of mountain lions and bobcats damages ecosystems and increases conflicts with people and livestock. Colorado is ground zero for chronic wasting disease and research has shown that mountain lions self-select to prey on deer and elk carrying the disease before they show symptoms, while not catching or transmitting the disease. Cats keep herds healthy!
As CATs charges into February with Initiative 91, we mark a crucial campaign milestone: We are now on the clock to gather 124,238 verifiable signatures from registered Colorado voters by July 4th. We must meet this minimum to qualify for the November 2024 state ballot. This means we need not just to meet the state minimum but to surpass it and collect 170,000 signatures, accounting for potential signature invalidations.
CATs is printing petitions, conducting training sessions, and hitting the ground to collect signatures the first week of February. But we cannot qualify for the 2024 state ballot without your help. Please register as a volunteer signature gatherer, called a “circulator,” to receive a petition packet, training notices, event updates, and recorded sessions. Any United States citizen aged 18 and over can collect signatures in Colorado, even if you’re not a Colorado resident.
Together, we have the power to protect mountain lions, bobcats, and lynx from the brutality of trophy hunting and trapping, and champion healthy, thriving ecosystems in Colorado!
Volunteer to gather signatures for Colorado’s cats!