PREDATORS -- Is there some science behind it, or are Washington wildlife managers stepping up lethal pressure on mountain lions simply because they have limited options for controlling wolves?
The question is explored in a story by Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times science writer:
Conservation groups are challenging new rules that expand cougar hunting in some parts of the state, arguing that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission disregarded scientific studies that show increased harvests don’t reduce cougar populations and can actually lead to more conflicts between the big cats and their human neighbors.
A petition filed June 30 by the Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Northwest and seven other groups says the commission also adopted the change with no opportunity for public comment.
In some areas, the new rules would nearly double the number of cougars that could be killed, said Gary Koehler, former director of carnivore research at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and a party to the petition.
“It’s a totally political decision,” he said. “The commission is ignoring the science.”