With mountain lion attacks are on the rise in rural Washington, and many residents feel the answer is more hunting.
New legislation signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire allows just that — but a new study finds that hunting actually makes attacks more likely.
The Seattle Times reports that a research team from Washington State University working in the northeastern part of the state, where most of the attacks have taken place, have found that the problem was not that hunters weren’t killing enough lions, but that they were killing the wrong ones.
Hunters looking for an impressive trophy kill older adult males, leaving behind the smaller but more aggressive and unpredictable adolescents.
The younger lions are the ones who get dangerously close to humans, mostly because they don’t know any better.
“You don’t get to be an old cougar by doing stupid stuff like hanging out in backyards and eating cats,” researcher Robert Wielgus told the newspaper.
The study found that mountain lion populations were collapsing in the same areas where attacks were up, and that in another area a boost in hunting merely cleared room for young male lions from surrounding areas to move in.
— Will Crain/Newsdesk.org
“Is cougar hunting breeding chaos?”
Seattle Times, March 16, 2008
How sad that the non-human animal continues to suffer due to the encroachment of humans on their habitat, and of course, the best solution we can come up with is to kill more of them.
Well put Lisa! I recently saw a Mountain Lion on the Appalachian trail Stretch in New Jersey, believe it or not, and I was going to report it until I did a little research. I looked up Mountain Lions in New Jersey and about 5 articles came up explaining that the “man-eaters” were dangerous. I was honored to see such a beautiful creature, and if reporting it means authorities will seek to kill it, or even worse, put it in a cage for us to gawk at, I will keep my mouth shut!
It all comes down to survival of the fittest. The superior species will do what it pleases to protect its own interests. It is only natural.